Thousands march in LA for impeachment of President Trump; his supporters hold their own rally – Los Angeles Times
Thousands of protesters marched down 5th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, chanting, “Down, down, down with Trump — up, up, up with the people” as they urged Congress to impeach the president.
John Meranda, 56 of Long Beach, held a sign showing Trump’s face on the body of a chubby baby, with the word “impeach” spelled out in wooden blocks.
“Every day when I wake up, something is more terrible than it was yesterday,” Meranda said. He has attended all five of the recent anti-Trump marches and plans to keep coming, he said.
He said he’s been most recently frightened by the Republican proposal to cut billions of dollars from the Medicaid program. Meranda is insured privately, he said, “but I have friends who are kept alive by it.”
Further down Broadway, Allen Levenson, 55 of Redondo Beach, and two of his friends clutched a plastic frame supporting a 15-foot-long banner reading, “Illegitimate Corrupt Puppet.”
“It cuts to the heart of his personal insecurities and fears,” said Levinson. “And we wanted something G-rated.”
Levinson has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, but chose to attend the march Sunday because showing his displeasure with Trump — “who aspires to be a despot” — and the Republican Congress “is that important,” he said.
The march is one of dozens planned across the country, with demonstrations in California scheduled in Fresno, Orange County, Ventura, San Diego and San Francisco.
The Los Angeles event began about noon at Pershing Square, with the route ending at Fletcher-Bowron Square at Main and Temple streets.
At a counterprotest before the pro-impeachment march, about three to four dozen Trump supporters gathered on the sidewalk outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, in an area roped off by yellow police tape.
Matthew Woods, a 55-year-old street musician from West Hills, spoke into a microphone before the crowd, who had American flags hoisted over their shoulders or tied around their necks, and encouraged them to sing along to “God Bless America” and make signs.
He dismissed the scandals that have swirled in the early months of the Trump administration, including an investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign or the president’s associates cooperated with Russia during or after the election.
“It’s all been disproven,” Woods said. “He has a right to terminate this inquiry. … I think it’s magnanimous of him to let them go on with it.”
At a rally just north of City Hall, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Porter Ranch) stood on a makeshift stage and urged his colleagues in Congress to start the process of impeaching Trump.
“We have to act now to protect our country from abuse of power and impulsive, ignorant incompetence,” Sherman said.
Former FBI Director James B. Comey‘s testimony that Trump asked him to drop his investigation into the president’s former national security advisor is evidence of a “federal felony,” Sherman said.
The crowd cheered and began chanting “lock him up.”
The San Fernando Valley lawmaker has put himself at odds with House Democratic leaders by drafting and circulating articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of trying to thwart an FBI investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Flynn is a focus of a widening investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign or the president’s associates cooperated with Russia during or after the election.
In February, White House officials said the president fired the former three-star Army general because Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
A day later, Trump met with Comey and told him he hoped “you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” according to Comey.
Trump has disputed Comey’s account. The president and his aides have denied any wrongdoing.
“Why shouldn’t they have talked to Russia?” said Hollee Garcia of Cathedral City, who drove in for the pro-Trump counterprotest. “I don’t agree with Putin, but I respect him as a man who has a country behind him. Though does he have them under lock and key? Maybe.”
Nearby, a vendor held up a sign reading, “Trump 2020: Better crazy than stupid.”
Times staff writer Jack Leonard contributed to this report.
2 p.m.: This article was updated with remarks from Rep. Brad Sherman.
1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the pro-impeachment march.
12:55 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the counterprotest and that the pro-impeachment march had begun.
This article was originally published at 5 a.m.
Powered by WPeMatico