Thousands of people — and three inflatable, dazzling chickens with tufts of Trumpian-orange hair — flocked to San Francisco’s City Hall on Saturday to demand the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, a demonstration synchronized with hundreds of other protests across the country.
City hall started swarming with people shortly after 1 p.m. for what was collectively billed as the largest demonstration against Trump since the Women’s March in January. Scores of people waved around their own tax returns and chanted “Lock him up,” a re-appropriated version of his own campaign chant directed at Hillary Clinton.
Speakers and attendees criticized the president’s connections to Russia and the growing economic divide between the country’s rich and poor. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston and San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim all made brief speeches prior to the start of the march.
— Gillian Edevane (@GillianNBC) April 15, 2017
After rallying for two hours, the protesters marched from city hall down along Market Street, blocking the entire roadway and diverting traffic. They remained peaceful throughout the demonstration, a far cry from the street brawl happening just 15 miles east in Berkeley, where Trump supporters and detractors met for their second face off in less than two months.
Families with kids gathered on the grassy lawn outside city hall for picnics. Carry Washington, of San Francisco, said she appreciated the peaceful atmosphere in San Francisco. It allowed protesting Trump to become a “family affair.”
“This is really about camaraderie and being united, showing that we haven’t forgotten and we’re not going away,” Washington, who brought her 11-year-old daughter along, said. “It’s to show his staff — Kellyanne (Conway) — that yes, the people do care that Trump releases his tax returns."
Conway, a senior Trump advisor, had said two days after the inauguration that Trump had no intention of releasing his taxes, telling news stations that people “don’t care” about the documents. Trump added that he wouldn't release the returns because he was under audit.
The president's unwillingness to share his tax returns labels him as the first major party nominee in more than 40 years to not release the financial documents.
It should be noted that most people who came out to the march in San Francisco were not under the delusion that marching would compel Trump to release his tax returns. Instead, they said it might convince someone else to leak them.
“Oh, no, not at all,” Jeff Garrison answered, when asked if he thought the protest would put pressure on Trump. “He’s never going to release them. The people have to do it, and that’s what we’re hoping for.”