Activists Rally in St. Pete to Protest Comey’s Firing
By SHELLY STECK REALE, Correspondent, TB Reporter
About 100 activists gathered Wednesday (May 10) in the wake of James Comey’s firing to show outrage and demand an independent investigation into possible ties between the Trump Administration and Russia.
ST. PETERSBURG – Less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, activists took to the streets in St. Petersburg.
They were demonstrating their concern over Comey’s firing and to call for the appointment of an independent investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump Administration.
“An increasing sense of foreboding is what brought me to help organize this event,” said Amy Weintraub, one of the rally’s organizers. “I was particularly concerned because Comey was leading an investigation into Trump himself and potential ties that his inner circle has with the Russian government.”
Her outrage was mirrored by about 100 other people who gathered with her at the Pinellas County Courthouse, 545 First Ave. N in St. Petersburg. They carried signs and chanted slogans. They were often drowned out by the sound of honking horns, cheers and an occasional jeer from cars passing by. Many drivers showed thumbs up as they passed.
“I’m not a great supporter of James Comey, but this just stinks; all of these connections between the Trump administration, the Trump campaign, and the Russians; there’s just too many connections to be ignored,” David Sousa said.
Sousa, 60, drove from Safety Harbor to take part because, he said, he was disgusted.
He wasn’t the only one. Activists of all ages, genders and races turned out to carry signs that read We the People Demand an Independent Investigation, Investigate Russiagate, and No American is Above the Law. They chanted, “Two, four, six, eight, now’s the time to investigate,” and “Enough is enough, investigate the Trumps.”
Organizers shouted into a megaphone, thanking U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, for demanding an independent commission to investigate possible Russian interference in the election. They urged everyone to call Nelson’s office in a show of support and appreciation.
Jessica Trese, 35, of St. Petersburg, came with her 10-month-old daughter, Lyra. Like others attending, she wanted to have a voice but said participation was equally important.
“It is an absolutely amazing experience to get to share and show her [Lyra] what a free and fair democracy looks like; to be able to have our voices heard and to stand up for what’s right,” Trese said.
Erica Behr, 29, said she doesn’t see the momentum of political activism slowing down.
“Oh no, not at all. We’re just building momentum,” Behr said. “This is something that’s not going to end anytime soon. We’re going to continue keeping an eye on what they’re doing in Washington, as well as in our local government, and we’re going to keep speaking out.”
Behr participated in the Women’s March, Florida last January, a local event that was attended by more than 20,000 people. She is a co-chair for the Pinellas County Chapter of Women’s March, Florida, a nonprofit corporation that works in cooperation with the Women’s March National.
But not everybody sees themselves as part of a movement.
“I’m not part of any movement,” Sousa said. “I’m just a concerned American citizen; I’m a veteran, and I’m terrified of where our country is headed.”
Those who do see themselves as part of a movement, like St. Petersburg resident, Judith Carruthers, 70, said there’s no question that it will continue.
“We manage to get pissed off every day, I think,” Carruthers said and laughed. “As soon as you sit and relax, he [Trump] just comes up with something else.”
For information about the Pinellas County Women’s March, go to facebook.com.
Photos by Shelly Steck Reale, TB Reporter correspondent.
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