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Hundreds rally in support of Mueller following Sessions’ departure from Trump administration

The protesters gathered outside of the Albemarle County Office Building in response to the dismissal of Jeff Sessions

<p>Hundreds of protesters gathered along the sidewalk in front of the Albemarle County Office Building, many holding signs expressing their opposition to appointment of Matthew Whitaker of Acting Attorney General.</p>

Hundreds of protesters gathered along the sidewalk in front of the Albemarle County Office Building, many holding signs expressing their opposition to appointment of Matthew Whitaker of Acting Attorney General.

In response to President Donald Trump’s recent dismissal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and what some saw as a threat to the existence of the Special Counsel investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election, protesters gathered outside the Albemarle County Office Building Thursday evening. The protesters gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the appointment of Matthew Whitaker — who has expressed criticisms of the Russia probe — as Acting Attorney General.

Whitaker, who served as chief of staff to Sessions, has expressed criticisms of the investigation on his Twitter account and wrote an opinion piece for CNN titled “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far”.

The online protest organized through MoveOn was titled Nobody Is Above the Law, demanding Whitaker “immediately cease supervision of the investigation.”

The two groups merged into one large protest of a few hundred individuals stretching along the sidewalk in front of the Albemarle County Office Building. Protestors set up on all sides of the corner of McIntire Road, waving signs in support of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and against Trump and the appointment of Whitaker.

David Singerman, a co-organizer of Indivisible Charlottesville — a local organization of volunteers who oppose the Trump agenda and seek to hold government officials accountable —  shared his thoughts on why it was important for people to turn out and protest.

“It's important to stand up for America as a country where the rule of law still holds and to show that nobody is above the law, not even someone in the White House,” Singerman said in an interview.

Positioned at the corner of a busy intersection, some participants held signs reading “Honk to protect Mueller” while the group occasionally chanted slogans such as “this is what democracy looks like” and “we are the righteous mob — let Mueller do his job.” 

“I think it's important to be as active in our political system as possible, and to show that things that are happening are not okay,” said Mary Brewer, a third-year College student who attended the protest. 

Charlottesville resident Vonnie Calland expressed a range of concerns, particularly in reference to Trump’s expressed lack of support for the Special Counsel investigation which he has repeatedly called a “witch hunt.”

“I’m concerned about the fact Trump is going after the special counsel, he's made it very clear that he does not want this investigation to continue,” Calland said. “Whitaker is not appropriate for the job of Attorney General.”

A few protestors wore pink pussyhats, including one woman whose baby had a pussyhat on its head. Another protester showed up in a full inflatable body suit depicting President Trump as a baby, bottle in hand. Charlottesville resident Claire Winter brought her homemade decorative candles featuring an image of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“I wanted to give a little light,” Winter said, handing out almost all of her 40 decorative candles to the gathered protestors. 

The protest, which lasted roughly an hour, remained peaceful throughout the night with no counter-protestors or police to be seen. The protest, which was only announced to take place Wednesday afternoon, netted a high turnout. Similar protests occurred in cities across the United States, including New York City, Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

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