200 Beaconites Protest Justice Department Shuffle of Jeff Sessions' Replacement, Matthew Whitaker

Yesterday we reported that people were gathering at Polhill Park in Beacon to protest the appointment of Matthew Whitaker to temporarily replace Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, after Sessions submitted his resignation letter (as requested by the president, according to the first sentence in the letter Jeff Sessions submitted). A participant sent in an estimate of 200 people in attendance at Beacon’s protest, one of 900 that happened across the country.

As a bring-you-up-to-speed if you need it, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation which is a look by federal authorities into if and how Russia influenced the 2016 election, and if the current president played a part in that in any way. Sessions has continued to do work that the president has directed him to do, but the president has openly resented Sessions for his recusal. Matthew Whitaker was the Chief of Staff under Sessions, and has vocalized wanting to end the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been protective of continuing the Russia investigation.

From a participant, Air Nonken Rhodes, we have a description of Beacon’s event, and pictures that Air took. In Air’s words:

About 200 people in total were there at the time of its largest crowd (5:30 pm), and about 80 people were there most of the rest of the time from 5 to 6:30 pm. Kids, grandparents, commuters coming off the train, people with their dogs, everyone showed up with signs and spirit to stand up against what we see as a power grab.

Conversations included how scary it is to see the checks and balances in our democracy unravel. The mood was generally light, with lots of hooting and hollering with joy whenever a car would honk in support. The commuter traffic going by was generally supportive of our signs.

A small minority shook their heads or gave thumbs-down, a dozen or so going out of their way to roll down their window in the cold air to shout curse-riddled invectives and diatribes against the protestors. A few were stunningly hateful, and took some careful explaining for the kids present. It was deeply sad to see this Trumpish incivility on our own Main Street.

One kid standing next to me asked, “Are we allowed to be here? Are we allowed to do this?” (meaning protest) and her mother explained proudly, “Yes, as Americans we have the free right of peaceable assembly and the right of free speech. We are allowed to be here and do this, and it’s very important to do so whenever something goes wrong. The President doesn’t think the rules apply to him, and we have to remind him that they do.”

Photo Credit for All Photos: Air Nonken Rhodes

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