Demonstrators turn out to support Mueller investigation

MIDDLEBURY — The night after civil rights activist DeRay McKesson spoke at Middlebury College, his ideas were very much on people’s minds as nearly 200 gathered downtown to protest President Trump’s firing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The firing and appointment of administration loyalist Matthew Whitaker was widely seen as a move endangering a Justice Department investigation by independent counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump administration’s connection to Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.
The protest Thursday evening was one of more than 900 nationwide.
FRAN PUTNAM WAS one of the evening’s speakers. Photo by Jason Duquette-Hoffman
“I attended the presentation by DeRay McKesson and was inspired by his courage and his dedication to creating a better society based on fairness and equity,” Fran Putnam, a protest organizer, told the Independent. “He gave up his job and his home, spent time in jail, and put his own body on the line for a cause he believes in — ending police brutality and mass incarceration. The least we can do here in Addison County is show up at a rally to stand up for the rule of law and the protection of the Mueller investigation.”
At the rally, activist Joanna Colwell spoke of McKesson’s lessons about inclusion.
DEMONSTRATORS WALKED ACROSS Main Street and proceeded through downtown, creating a string of people that stretched in a broken line that stretched from the traffic circle east across the Cross Street Bridge. Photo by Jason Duquette-Hoffman
“He talked about on-ramps, the idea of inviting people into the movement,” she told a crowd that gathered on the Middlebury town green before marching down Main Street to the Cross Street Bridge. “Let’s figure out how we can build our movement by bringing more and more and more people into it, with a warm and welcoming spirit.”
Marchers carried signs that carried such slogans as:
•  Keep Mueller independent
•  Protect our Constitution
•  No one is above the law
•  Truth will set you free unless you are guilty.

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