VALPARAISO — Some 100 people, of all ages, gathered Thursday night at Central Park Plaza in an impromptu protest of President Donald Trump.
Carrying signs reading "No One is Above the Law," "Protect Mueller," "Protect Democracy" and "Make Racism Wrong Again," they gathered in response to this week's resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the appointment by Trump of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
Session's resignation allowed the appointment of Whitaker without U.S. Senate approval, organizer Donna Perdue said. It crossed the line, she said, causing some 900 rapid response protests to be held across the country Thursday.
In addition to Valparaiso, protests were scheduled for Dyer, Hammond and Michigan City.
Whitaker has penned some negatives writings about Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, Perdue said, adding it is feared Whitaker was brought in to fire Mueller and quash the investigation.
But that wasn't all that was on the demonstrators' minds.
Whitney Bailey spoke about the administration's immigration policy.
"What we are doing is wrong. What we are doing with immigration is wrong. America needs to have open arms," she said as she spoke about her stepfather, an immigrant.
A Valparaiso High School student spoke about her everyday fears.
"I'm worried about being shot in my high school," she said, adding the administration is not moving to protect students.
Others took to the microphone to urge continued involvement in the political process, to promote progress and equality.
Craig Engle, a 14-year Naval special forces veteran, said he spent his last weekend canvassing people before the election and heard discontent.
"This cannot stand," he said.
Another woman took the microphone and told the crowd, "People need to know this is not normal."
Adriane Jagger stood in the back, holding a sign, "Impeach 45 Fire Karen Martin Clean Your Dirty Party."
"This is important to me because it is time for decent Republicans to take back their party. There is systematic rot that decent Republicans know is wrong," she said, from the national to the local level, pointing at the problems in this week's elections in Porter County and the delay in obtaining vote totals.
While the rally was held within the shadows of the Porter County Administration Center, where workers continued to count ballots, Perdue, a Democrat and candidate for Porter County commissioner, said the rally wasn't about the problems with the local election.
"We believe we can build a country for all of us," she said, one which welcomes immigrants, makes it easier to vote and stands against sexism, racism and Islamophobia.
Perdue said Thursday night's demonstration likely wasn't the last as the group is committed to nonviolent protests "if (Trump) keeps stepping over the red line."