December 18, 2019

Hundreds Expected for Impeachment Rally

By Donald Gilpin

Hundreds of demonstrators calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office were expected to gather in Hinds Plaza adjacent to the Princeton Public Library yesterday evening. The rally was to take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, after press time.

In spite of weather, traffic, and holiday distractions, rally leaders said they were anticipating a large crowd of supporters as part of the more than 500 nationwide “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies in all 50 states on the eve of the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The Princeton Police Department yesterday announced the possibility of closing parts of Witherspoon and Hulfish streets during the rally in the event of an overflow crowd in Hinds Plaza.

The House is likely to pass the two articles of impeachment today, making Trump the third president in history to be impeached. The Senate will probably vote in January on the question of removal from office.

“When the president manipulates congressionally-appropriated funds in order to pressure a foreign power to help his own re-election, and then obstructs Constitutionally-mandated oversight, public protest to preserve our democracy becomes a patriotic duty,” said Laura Zurfluh, Indivisible Cranbury founder and one of the rally organizers.

With 956 signed up to attend the rally as of Tuesday morning, Zurfluh was expecting more than 1,000 demonstrators, many with flashlights to “shed a light on corruption.”

Speakers on the agenda for last night’s rally included Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Princeton Councilman Dwaine Williamson, Coalition for Peace Action
Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore, the Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Trenton, Not In Our Town Board Member Valeria Torres-Olivares, Imam Saffet Catovic of Green Faith, and Jonette Smart of the NAACP of Trenton.

Local sponsoring organizations include the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ), Indivisible Cranbury, Lawrence Citizen Activists, STAND Central New Jersey, Indivisible Princeton, Indivisible Monroe, Princeton Community Democratic Organization, and Princeton University Democrats.

“President Trump’s lawless obstruction of the House of Representatives, which is rightly seeking documents and witness testimony in pursuit of its Constitutionally-mandated oversight role, has demonstrated brazen contempt for representative government,” stated a letter to be read at the rally, co-authored by Princeton University History Professor Sean Wilentz and co-signed by 750 other historians. “So have his attempts to justify that obstruction on the grounds that the executive enjoys absolute immunity, a fictitious doctrine that, if tolerated, would turn the president into an elected monarch above the law.”

Kathy Taylor of Indivisible Princeton noted, in a statement before the rally, “The framers of our Constitution believed that a leader who commits bribery and invites foreign influence in our elections deserves to be impeached. Now is the time to stand together to rein in a corrupt, lawless president intent on cheating in the 2020 election to hold on to power.”

Taylor reported high levels of excitement early this week about the impeachment vote and the rally. “The rallies send an important message nationwide,” she said. “It would also be helpful for there to be more rallies in January when the Senate takes up the impeachment vote. It’s a historical time.”

She continued, “Our job is to generate enthusiasm for the resistance. Even if he’s not removed from office, the rallies are a step towards next year and getting out the vote in the November election.”

Robt Seda-Schreiber, BRCSJ chief activist, added, in a pre-rally statement, “As we journey together as a people on this arduous and painful but ultimately rewarding path back to the rule of law in our great country, we at the BRCSJ are proud to gather with a strong coalition of allies as well as within our greater community to organize this ‘Impeach and Remove’ Rapid Response Rally — one of hundreds collectively across the nation to amplify our patriotic voices and affirm our strong belief in the very foundations of our democracy.”

Seda-Schreiber added that the rally leaders, in following up on last night’s event, have organized an all-day Day of Action on Saturday, December 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the BRCSJ on Wiggins Street in Princeton. The open house will offer phone banking, postcard writing to legislators, and video statements, with free materials and refreshments.