San Luis Obispo County residents came together on Thursday to express their outrage at President Donald Trump’s firing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and its potential impact on the continuing Russia probe.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse under a setting sun to rally and then march in support of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump fired Sessions on Wednesday and temporarily replaced him with Matt Whitaker, a critic of Mueller’s investigation.
It’s unclear how Whitaker, Sessions’ former chief of staff, will impact the investigation in his new role as acting attorney general.
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The San Luis Obispo rally was one of hundreds held across the country at 5 p.m. as part of the “Nobody is Above the Law — Mueller Protection Rapid Response” movement.
Women’s March San Luis Obispo and Together We Will San Luis Obispo County quickly organized the march after Sessions’ firing, said Jen Ford, a Women’s March co-organizer.
“We just kind of jumped on that and decided we’ve got to do this,” she said.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal and San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon — both fresh off their recent election victories — spoke on the courthouse steps along with local activists.
A group of residents from all around the county cheered and raised signs that read “Trump violates the Constitution and obstructs justice” and “Rule of law for everyone.”
As the streetlights came on, protesters gathered together and prepared to do a lap around downtown — including Higuera Street, which was closed and crowded with booths for the Downtown SLO Farmers Market.
Sandy Dexter of Los Osos carried a “Make America a Democracy Again” sign. She said Sessions’ firing and the potential threat to the Russia investigation was the trigger that brought her down the coast to protest.
“I want America to be a democracy I believe in again,” she said.
Marjorie Zlotowitz of Cambria brought a sign that read “Do the math: Rule of law - 45 = democracy.”
“Aside from voting, it’s about all we can do,” she said, when asked why it’s important to protest. “It makes us feel less helpless.”