A couple dozen students and community members gathered at 5 p.m. Thursday night at the Circle on campus as part of a nationwide day of protests to protect Robert Mueller, special counsel of the Trump-Russia investigation.
The event was called “Nobody is above the law — Mueller protection rapid response” and was organized by MoveOn, an activist group that promotes “social justice and political progress.”
The protest kicked off with chants of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.” and “Protect Mueller’s investigation.”
Jordan Butler, a second year law student and host of Oxford’s protest, said a large reason for the gathering was former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing and the promotion of Matthew Whitaker to acting attorney general.
“(Whitaker) has written that he thinks it would be better for backlash purposes to just pull all funding from Mueller and refuse to let him indict anyone,” Butler said. “We’re here to protect Bob Mueller’s investigation.”
Seth Dickinson, a first year law student, said he attended the protest because he sees the law as something worth “fighting for.”
“When we started at the law school, the first thing they told us is the law applies to everybody,” Dickinson said. “Seeing what’s happening now, I understand that and having almost three fourths of a semester of knowledge of the law, I realize I’ve got to fight for it.”
Butler said the group was just there to have their voices heard and show dissatisfaction with Mueller’s investigation potentially being compromised.
“I would just say it’s a huge conflict of interest on Trump’s part to put someone into this position who has previously called it a witch hunt, and (because of Whitaker’s) previous stance on the Mueller investigation and who he would be directly overseeing,” first year law student Abby Carter said. “You can’t just fire someone because they’re investigating you.”
Thursday evening’s protest began mere minutes after sundown, but Butler said he was told at first that the protesters would “have to leave as soon as it’s dark enough (they) become a safety concern.” A few University Police Department officers stood nearby, without intervening, as the protest went on well past sundown.
“We (the LOU community) love to support organization and the congregation of the Oxford community when it serves us, but whenever it’s something that goes against the social grain, we want to try and put that in a box or like put a cap on that before it’s something we don’t want to hear,” Carter said, mentioning that people attending sporting events are not immediately asked to leave even if it’s after dark.
“They say we can’t protest or gather after dark,” Dickinson said. “Our exact purpose is to bring some light to this subject.”
In the end, there was no intervention by police. The protest concluded at 5:40 p.m., with a protester announcing that the demonstration will continue at 2 p.m Friday afternoon at the Oxford Courthouse on the Square.