More than 1,000 people marched south from Times Square on Thursday evening to decry President Donald Trump’s forcing out of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to show support for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The rally began near 46th Street, where the crowd chanted, “Hands off Mueller,” before marching south on Broadway. The demonstrators, spanning at least four blocks, urged Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation, as had Sessions.
Mercedes Maldonado, 56, an attorney from Westchester County, said she was concerned Mueller would have his legs cut from underneath him.
“We believe his [Trump’s] firing of Sessions crosses a red line,” Maldonado added.
After facing the ire of Trump for months, Sessions handed in his resignation Wednesday. Sessions had recused himself due to Russian contacts while involved with Trump’s campaign.
Trump then named Whitaker, who was serving as Sessions’ chief of staff, as the acting attorney general. Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation despite having made public critical comments about it as well as being a friend of a witness, according to The Washington Post.
“This is another line that’s been crossed … It’s really scary,” said Eric Davidson, 51, a freelance writer from Astoria. “I think it’s good to do this in Times Square because like 75 percent of people here are from outside New York and when they see this, they’ll get the message and take it back home.”
Pamela Berlin, 65, a theater director from the Upper West Side, said Sessions’ firing was “appalling.”
“Congress needs to see this happening and know there are millions protesting, and I hope they have a moment of conscience,” Berlin said. “A lot of people will see it and say, ‘Oh it’s New York, what do you expect?’ But we still got to do it.”