Impeachment marchers blew kisses to their opposition Sunday morning after a protest in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump faced heavy resistance from a group of counter protesters.
Over 40 impeachment marches took place across the country Sunday, demanding congressional representatives to “do their job and start the process to impeach this president,” according to the Impeachment March website.
Sharyn Richardson, one of the organizers of the Austin march, said she has been opposed to the Trump presidency since the beginning and decided to start a protest in Austin when she saw others being organized across the nation.
“This is just the very beginning of a movement,” Richardson said. “We want to call attention to the many violations the president has committed against the Constitution, and we want to send a message to Congress that we’re watching, and no one is above the law, not even the president.”
The event featured musical performances and several speakers in favor of Trump’s impeachment, including District 21 Congressional candidate Chris Perri, Rev. Chuck Freeman and District 9 Rep. Al Green, D-Houston.
Marchers joined Green in singing “God Bless America” after he thanked law enforcement for helping to keep the protest peaceful amid growing tensions between the two sides.
“We are here to do what is a part of the fiber and fabric of this country,” Green said. “We love our country and we want to make it better than it is today.”
Counter-protesters held large signs that said things such as “liberalism is a mental disorder” and “Trump 2020.” The counter protesters also used megaphones to make comments about the speeches given by representatives on the opposing side.
“We knew there would be opposition, but we are maintaining that this is a peaceful, nonviolent protest,” Richardson said. “We’re exercising our First Amendment rights of free speech, and they’re allowed to exercise those rights as well. We just hope our voices are louder than theirs.”
At one point, state troopers formed a barrier with their bikes to separate the two sides after a heated altercation.
Many of the Trump supporters present at the march Sunday had participated in their own pro-Trump march Saturday morning.
Billy Sessions, the leader of the group of counter protesters, said his group drove from Arkansas to protest the Sunday march.
“Communism and the Constitution go together like oil and water,” Sessions said. “I’m here for the Constitution. We have our First Amendment right the same as they do.”
The Trump protesters walked from the Capitol to Austin City Hall and back Sunday morning as part of their march. When the marchers arrived back at the Capitol, counter-protesters stood at the steps of the Capitol to block the marchers. Some of the marchers then stood in front of the counter protesters with their signs until the counter protesters eventually moved.
Lexie Cooper, one of the impeachment marchers and the president of the Austin chapter of the National Organization for Women, joined the group of marchers who stood in front of the counter-protesters.
“The more people you have supporting your cause, the more legitimate it looks, the more powerful you look and the more of a statement it makes,” Cooper said. “I knew there would be some white supremacists and pro-Trumpers here, and I wanted to add to the group of people standing in their way.”