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Residents protest Trump’s acquittal in Boston Common

Several hundred people congregated in Boston Common Wednesday evening to protest President Donald Trump’s acquittal following his Senate impeachment trial.

Common Cause, an organization famous for helping to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 during the Vietnam War, organized simultaneous nationwide protests, including Wednesday’s rally in Boston. The event was also co-hosted by a coalition of groups including By the People, Indivisible and Sierra Club, among others.

People protested the acquittal of President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial in the Boston Common Wednesday. PERRY SOSI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech for People, said in a speech he believes the Senate did not take the action it should have.

“Trump has been emboldened because the Senate didn’t acquit him because they think he didn’t do it,” Fein said. “They know he did it. So unless we stop him, he’ll do it again, and he’ll do worse.”

Speakers praised senator and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for being the lone Senate Republican to vote to convict Donald Trump on one article of impeachment. Jim Cantwell, Massachusetts state director for Sen. Ed Markey, referenced Romney’s words in his speech at the event.

“As senator Romney said today, if the Senate acquits President Trump he will believe himself to be accountable to no one,” Cantwell said. “When he’s again faced with a choice between our public interest and his personal interest, what will he do?”

Both Massachusetts senators Markey and Elizabeth Warren voted to convict Donald Trump. 

Debbie Paul of Indivisible MA said she thinks the public needs to focus on strategies to remove Trump from office.

“We are going to hold all the Republicans accountable,” Paul said. “To do this, we are getting out and helping to register more voters. Every one of you has to be active every day.”

Several speakers at the protest also criticized Trump’s policies. Jacob Stern of the Sierra Club said a Trump presidency could not have come at a worse time during the climate crisis.

“We’re already seeing hypocrisy of the Trump administration here in Massachusetts as they’re gutting clean air and clean water policies,” Stern said. “They’re holding up clean offshore wind because they’re worried about environmental impact.” 

Among the speakers on site was Rev. Vernon Walker, public policy director of Young Democrats of Massachusetts. A Boston University alum, Walker said BU students have a responsibility to speak out against political injustice.

“We stand on the shoulders of social justice giants Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman and  C. Eric Lincoln,” Walker said. “ I think we have a legacy that we need to keep and promote to keep in the tradition of the prophetic witnesses who went before us.” 

Walker also said Trump misappropriated King’s message, when while promoting his school choice policy during this year’s State of the Union address, Trump said King would always stand up for children.

“President Trump is trying to co-op the legacy of [King] to fit his own agenda,” Walker said. “And that’s essentially what he’s been doing since he’s been in office, manipulating American government to fit his own agenda.”

Among attendees at the rally, no obvious pro-Trump demonstration was apparent at any point throughout the night.

Diana Arezzo, 73, of Arlington said the survival of American democracy is at stake if Trump is not taken out of office.

“I’ve been protesting as an activist my whole life, but I’ve never seen anything anywhere near as bad as this,” Arezzo said. “This is a cult of personality.”

William McCarthy, 27, of Allston was on his way home when he walked into the rally, and said he was glad people are discussing Trump’s acquittal and other political issues.

“I can see people my age, younger and older,” said McCarthy. “It’s vitriolic, but at least people are out doing something.”

Frank Ganet, 60, of Arlington said he thinks it’s important for young people and college students to stay informed, including through their student newspaper.

“Reading the newspaper is very important,” Ganet said, “so that the youth understands what’s happening for their future.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated that Refuse Fascism co-hosted the event. Refuse Fascism co-used the space, but was not an organizer of this protest. The article has been updated to reflect these changes.

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