Jack Gonzales, 11, holds a sign that reads "Defend Democracy" as he sits on the steps in front of his parents at the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse during a rally calling for the impeachment of President Trump. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

More than 400 people marched down César E. Chávez Boulevard and Alamo Street on Tuesday evening, escorted by police and holding signs with slogans like “Impeach and Remove” and “All I Want for Christmas is Impeachment.”

People around the United States marched ahead of Wednesday’s expected U.S. House vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Last Friday, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. More than 600 cities across the nation participated in “Impeach & Remove” events started by MoveOn, a national progressive public policy advocacy group.

San Antonio’s rally featured speakers from organizations such as SA Stands and the Sierra Club. MaryEllen Veliz spoke on behalf of U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat who represents San Antonio and Austin. 

“Trump insists that, while president, he can neither be investigated nor prosecuted for any type of crime,” Veliz read from Doggett’s statement. “And further, that he can ignore any impeachment proceeding of which he disapproves.”

“These are the claims of a wannabe tyrant,” Veliz said to the crowd’s raucous cheers. 

The rally started at the San Antonio Federal Building on César E. Chávez Boulevard, where U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes) has his district office. Greg Harman, a Sierra Club member and organizer of Tuesday’s rally, chose to begin the march there to highlight Hurd’s decision to vote against the articles of impeachment. Hurd will not be seeking reelection in 2020.

“All these Republicans who are sick of the state of their party, and they can’t seem to stand up and do something meaningful, be a better person, tell the truth,” Harman said. “They’re walking away. They’re quitting.”

Harman acknowledged that the immediate future of Trump seems fairly clear – national media reports that the U.S. House has enough votes to impeach, but the U.S. Senate does not have enough support to remove the president. But hosting an event like the one on Tuesday still holds power in criticizing public officials like Hurd, Harman said.

The rally moved beyond impeachment as well; speakers expounded on the consequences of Trump administration policies on climate change, immigration, and foreign policy.

Katy Murdza attended as a member of SA Stands, a collaborative group in San Antonio that advocates for immigrants. Though some presidential candidates have pushed for immigration reform policies such as repealing Section 1325 of the United States Code, which would make crossing the border without proper documentation a civil offense instead of a criminal one, none of those ideas are enough, she said.

“These proposals still center around separating worthy immigrants from unworthy immigrants,” she said.

“There has been no president or Congress that treated immigration as the humanitarian issue it is.”

Cathy Tarasovic marched hand in hand with her husband Tom Hopkins, both holding their “Impeach & Remove” signs high. Tarasovic said she wished there were even more people at the rally, but she was happy to see any kind of impeachment rally in San Antonio. This was their first march since the 1970s, she said, when they protested the war in Vietnam.

“I feel it’s very important that we impeach Donald Trump,” she said. “He’s not above the law.”

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.