Droves of people calling for the impeachment of President Trump and his removal from office demonstrated in Greater Boston Tuesday, a day before federal lawmakers are expected to take a historic vote.
Hundreds weathered a steady rain on Boston Common late Tuesday afternoon, to listen to speakers rail against the president on the eve of a highly anticipated impeachment vote on two articles, one charging abuse of power and the other obstruction of Congress.
On the Common, someone had stuck red letters spelling I-M-P-E-A-C-H in the snow. At one point the crowd, bundled up in winter jackets with some holding an umbrella in one hand and a protest sign in the other, chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”
Former Massachusetts governor William Weld, a Republican who is challenging Trump in the party’s presidential contest, told the rally that “this is a moment of national crisis.” Trump, he said, “is richly deserved to be impeached and removed by Congress.”
“After Watergate, the people came together and demanded reform,” he said. “Today, we must do that as well.”
Arlington resident Stan Lawrence said his group, Refuse Fascism, attended the rally to protest and say “this isn’t enough.”
“Congress has already made it clear that Trump is not going to be convicted,” Lawrence said. “They are going to use this to further their fascist agenda. We want people getting into the streets demanding that the Trump-Pence regime is out of office. We can’t wait until 2020.”
Not all the grievances expressed at the rally were connected to the articles of impeachment.
Some attendees lamented Trump pulling the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord, while others said he has ignored Black Lives Matter and movements supporting transgender people.
Maria Rose, 55, of Roxbury, said she tries not to take Trump’s actions personally, “but as a black woman, I do feel attacked.”
“It’s so important that our voices are heard,” Rose said. “Congress needs to defend our Constitution.”
John Brayton, 45, of Haverhill, a software developer, thought it was completely worth standing in the cold weather to protest Trump.
“Given all of his abuses of power, I question our ability to continue as a democracy with him in office,” Brayton said.
Peter Jackson, 69, of Milton, said Trump “has abused his power, and is a danger to democracy.”
“I’m interested in our environment, and he’s destroying it,” Jackson said.
As the Boston rally, which was among 600 similar rallies held across the country Tuesday, wound down, another demonstration started across the Charles River, outside Cambridge City Hall. There, a trio of women sang songs about impeachment and taking back democracy.
Sonia Taktak, 42, of Cambridge, held a sign that read “I am a traitor” with Trump’s face depicted as an orange. She called Trump a “toxic president” and said the rally was “such a little discomfort to make sure Congress does the right thing and impeaches.”
Pointing to her neighbor’s young child, she said, “I’m here for his future.”
Vicky Oatley, a 41-year-old 4th-grade teacher who lives in Cambridge, said she felt gutted when Trump was elected.
“I couldn’t believe that someone who was misogynistic, who would make fun of disabled people, who wants to ban whole groups of people could become our president,” Oatley said through tears.
She added, “I looked at the fourth graders in my classroom the next day, and they were scared. I know I have a voice to stick up for them.”
Wednesday’s debate in the House is expected to end with Trump becoming the third president in US history to be impeached.
Trump angrily objected to the House’s articles of impeachment Tuesday, accusing Democrats of “perversion of justice and abuse of power” in their effort to remove him from office.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump maintained he did nothing wrong in seeking foreign investigations of political rivals. He also attacked Democrats for focusing on impeachment rather than other issues.
As impeachment appears set in the House, attention is shifting to the Senate which, under the Constitution, is required to hold a trial on the charges. It is expected to begin in January.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Christina Prignano of Globe staff contributed. Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.