Hundreds of Bostonians took to the Common on Thursday to advocate for the protection of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Many see Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation as Trump’s newest attempt to exert control over the investigation. Amid chants of “Enough is enough!” and “Come on Congress do your job!”, children colored-in handmade protest signs while a tuba played in jaunty agreement. The rally was organized by advocacy groups March for Truth and MoveOn and featured speeches from local activists and elected officials, including newly-reelected District Attorney Marian Ryan.
Ryan said in her speech: “I have spent my entire life as a prosecutor. Prosecutors have a very simple goal: It is to do justice… There can be no public trust in the result of an investigation that is not conducted in an impartial and independent manner. The significance of the situation before us is that it’s akin to what happened with the Saturday Night Massacre. In that situation the stunning abuse of power was so un-American, so contrary to our values, that Americans of every political persuasion rose up to condemn it. That is what you’re doing tonight. Here’s what we want: Hands off Robert Mueller!”
Ron Fein, Legal Director for the organization Free Speech for People, also spoke: “It’s not just about protecting the Mueller investigation. Congress needs to do more. The Judiciary committee of the House of Representatives needs to begin impeachment hearings. Impeachment is not only for crimes. Impeachment is to protect the country.”
Ben Clements, Board Chair of Free Speech for People, said: “We have witnessed this man [Trump] show his disdain for the rule of law and for the constitution everyday that he has been in office. He is a lawless president… People say we are getting close to a constitutional crisis. We are not getting close. We are in a constitutional crisis… Protecting the Mueller investigation is essential but it is not enough. The remedy for a lawless, corrupt president is not a criminal investigation, it’s not a bunch of lawsuits, it’s an impeachment investigation.”
Samuel Pierce, Dorchester resident, said in his speech: “I’m a chess player, so if Donald Trump takes the poison pawn, tries to do anything to Mueller, he’s already obstructed justice. But he’s going to be impeached, we’re just waiting for him to make the next move…. This is the birthplace of America, where it all started, and we’re not going home without a fight.”
Nora Mann, career activist, said: “I believe that, working together, we can get back to a place where the rule of law is central to our government. Today our leaders have failed to come together to protect the rule of law or our core values. And we are here to demand that they do so… If we do not end this national nightmare now, when we wake up there may not be much left to protect.”
The protesters had a variety of reasons for attending the rally, but it seemed to boil down to one emotion: disgust towards the actions of the Trump administration. One young protestor said, “The firing of Jeff Sessions is without a doubt an attempt to obstruct justice. This kind of stuff has happened in the past but never to this extent and never this directly.”
Another said she came to the rally because she’s “just had enough. [The news] just seemed unbelievable. And then the Kavanaugh hearing, it just broke my heart that these women weren’t being believed. Somehow I got an invitation to this rally today. To know that there are like minded people, that there’s a force in numbers, strengthens me. My hope is that these people who are newly elected will make a difference.”
Another protestor said, “I was at Harvard Law School when the Saturday Night Massacre occurred, and I feel it’s happening again.” He said of the midterm elections, “I’m disappointed that more people didn’t turn out and that a lot of the votes got suppressed.”
Another woman at the rally said, “I feel like our democracy is under threat. It’s a crisis that we haven’t seen in fifty years. It’s important to show up when we can. One of the strange things about Donald Trump is that even though he’s an authoritarian with dictator tendencies he does respond to protests. He listens to the people. He is very influenced by public opinion and this is, I think, a way of slowing him down, showing that there are hundreds of protests around the country.”
“Plus we just can’t be quiet in the face of his idiocy,” her friend added.
The protest ended with a banjo player and other musicians playing various songs, including “This Land is Your Land” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” at times modified to fit the message of the rally.
This photo essay was compiled and edited by DJ Kranchalk. Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.