For more than an hour Saturday afternoon, cars honked in support of nearly 150 people who stood at the corner of McIntire Road and Preston Avenue to rally against fascism.
“We’re here because as residents of Charlottesville, we know that fascism cannot go unchecked,” said Kathryn Laughon, who attended the rally. “We see a direct line between what happened here on Aug. 11 and 12 of 2017 and what happened in Washington this week.”
Organized by Indivisible Charlottesville, Saturday’s demonstration was also held to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment and the expulsion of the U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-5th, after Trump supporters on Wednesday stormed the U.S. Capitol. Good objected to the electoral college certification of Joe Biden’s win, and voted against certifying votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. The certification is the final step in the process of electing a new president and is typically a ceremonial affair.
Trump’s rally before the storming of the Capitol and his objections to the election fueled the insurrection, organizers charged on Saturday.
“We’re here to demand that Congress immediately remove Trump from office to prevent him from doing even more damage that he’s already done, and that Congress must expel its members who participated in the insurrection,” said David Singerman, a co-organizer of Indivisible Charlottesville. “ … Congress must expel the insurrectionists.”
In a statement released Thursday, Good defended his decision to object to certifying the votes from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He was elected to represent Virginia’s Fifth District in November.
“The lawlessness that broke down our Capitol doors is a reminder of how sacred our duty is to uphold the rule of law,” Good said. “It is Congress’ constitutional responsibility to evaluate the validity of electoral votes and either accept them as legitimate casts or object to them as questionable or unreliable.”
The Justice Department has said there was no widespread election fraud during the November 2020 election. Additionally, lawsuits challenging votes and seeking to overturn the results of the election have mostly failed, according to a review by USA Today.
Singerman said at that Saturday’s demonstration was a way for local residents to stand up against fascism, white supremacy and terrorism in favor of democracy and elections.
Laughon said that Wednesday’s riot was white supremacy in action.
“We know that had those been Black Lives Matter protesters, we know for a fact because we’ve seen it, the response would have been incredibly different,” she said.
On Wednesday, law enforcement largely stood by after officers were overrun by the mob, and one officer with the U.S. Capitol Police died from injuries sustained during the attack. After the Capitol was cleared, those who were inside were allowed to leave, but federal law enforcement have started to make arrests.
Earlier on Saturday, residents of southern Albemarle found flyers in their driveways emblazoned with a swastika and calling for “white pride” in their driveways, according to social media posts. The flyers were inserted into plastic bags weighed down with stones.
Overall, Singer said that the demonstration received a lot of support from cars driving by and those who attended.
“People are angry about what they saw, and people are enraged,” Singerman said of Wednesday’s attack. “And at the same time, gathering — even in a socially distant, safe group — is really cathartic and powerful and gives people the energy they need to continue the fight. Because Trump is going to be gone, but Trumpism is not.”