On Dec. 17, as the nation prepared for the historic vote on impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives, thousands of protesters showed up at multiple sites around South Florida, from the Trump Doral Resort in Miami to U.S. Senator Rick Scott’s office in West Palm Beach. In downtown Miami, about 300 people gathered in front of the Torch of Friendship at Bayside Marketplace.
Erik Ofengand was one of the volunteers there. He joined Move On, the national activist group behind the protests, after the 2016 presidential elections. He described the results, including Donald Trump’s ascent, as “a big shock and a blow.” The purpose of this week’s “Nobody Is Above the Law” events, he added, is to show that people care about the rule of law.
“Just simply ignoring it and letting the president and his cronies get away with whatever they want is just not acceptable,” Ofengand said. “We need to show Congress that we are not going to stand for them doing nothing on this. If they are going to stand with the president and ignore their constitutional duties … they’re going to be paying a price.”
Some protesters said impeachment goes beyond party lines and should be taken seriously by all Americans, regardless of political preference.
“When the signs are clear and obvious, this is not about Republican or Democrat for me,” said Miami resident Tarek Korraa at the Bayside protest. “This is about being an American citizen. It’s just unfortunate the way this behavior is taking its path … It’s dividing the country and Trump doesn’t mind it, but for me it hurts.”
Activist Kathleen Doyle, who protested at the Trump National Doral, added, “I’m here because I’ve been a teacher my whole life. When I taught American literature, I tried to hold up examples from all cultures that showed that people really do value the rule of law, but also the rights of the individual. Those have all been trampled during this administration.”
For the past three months, House Democrats have gathered evidence on the president’s alleged plan to withhold military aid from Ukraine until that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announced an investigation into Trump political opponent Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Although the president blocked key witnesses from testifying, Democrats compiled enough evidence for the Dec. 18 scheduled vote on two articles of impeachment on the House floor. This marks the third time in United States history that Congress has employed this constitutionally mandated power on a sitting president.
The protests will continue after the vote on the measure, which The Associated Press reported will have enough support to impeach President Trump. Activists and volunteers will continue protesting to pressure senators to uphold their oath and remain impartial throughout the upcoming Senate trial.
Ali Shapiro, a New York native, said she saw the problems that Trump created in New York, and that he is now “causing them for our entire nation.” She has protested during multiple historic events, including the Vietnam War, and is now active against Trump.
“The Republicans have no voice … He is in their car, and he is driving them where he wants to go,” said Shapiro. “We don’t want this. We need a country that is fair for all of us Americans … We deserve to be heard.”