While Americans wait to see what an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election will uncover, people around the country marched Saturday, demanding more transparency in the process, and guarantees any crimes don’t go unpunished.

Questions about any possible connections between Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia during election have been an ongoing concern in the United States, and the Senate intelligence committee is currently investigating the matter.

Set to testify this week is former FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired last month, and had been leading a criminal investigation into whether Trump’s political advisers had colluded with Russian officials to affect the outcome of the presidential election.

The president calls the investigation a “witch hunt,” but March for Truth demonstrators on Saturday said they want an independent investigation to determine what really happened.

The only way for freedom to exist in the United States, is if the truth is exposed and shared with the public, according to March for Truth organizers.

“We will expose it, even when it’s uncomfortable,” said Demi Wetzel, one of the organizers for the Seattle March for Truth in Cal Anderson Park on June 3, “even when it hurts, because we deserve to know.”

Seattle has been awash in protests since the November general election, with many marches starting in Capitol Hill, and then winding down to the Seattle Center. Wetzel said they are all connected, just as is the March for Truth.

“We did not just skip to where we are today,” she said.

The demands at the March for Truth were that a special prosecutor be named and an independent commission handle the Trump/Russia investigation, and that as much information possible be shared with the public as soon as possible. If crimes were committed, protesters say prosecution must occur.

The March for Truth was also to demand Congress force Trump to release his tax returns, which is something he’d promised during the campaign. Protesters say it will clarify whether the president has any foreign business interests or obligations.

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold told the crowd at the rally at Cal Anderson Park that a fair and impartial investigation would help to restore Americans’ faith in the electoral process. She said people won’t let the matter drop.

“We’re not going away, and we will not stand for partisan delays or obstruction,” Herbold said.

Washington Sen. Bob Hasegawa, who is currently running for Seattle mayor, said people feel disenchanted and powerless to the negative changes they see in the country.

 

 

“Those in power feel threatened by your power,” he told the crowd, “if we join together.”

Hasegawa supported “Trump-proofing Seattle,” but said people need to be smart about it. He said that means standing together against the “corporatist agenda,” and to not lose sight of the “humanist agenda.”

Herbold condemned recent attacks on the LGBTQ community, people of color, people with low incomes, women’s rights and immigrants and refugees. When there is an attempt to take away rights, she said, people needed to demand more of them.

Tyler Valentine gave an impassioned speech about what he believes was Russian collusion by the Trump campaign to seal the presidency. The third-year University of Washington undergraduate in planetary science called the president a racist and misogynist, who looks down that’s “not rich, white, Christian and male.”

“When it comes down to it, Trump is only a problem,” Valentine said. “He is not the problem.”

Valentine said the American system is broken, that it works “more for free enterprise than free people.”

“It was 26.3 percent of eligible voters that determined the election,” said activist Ximena Velázquez-Arenas, who about six months ago helped found the Neighborhood Action Coalition in Seattle.

She said that is not Democracy, nor is the large population of people in jail or prison, who are disproportionately people of color.

“The Bhagavad Gita says life is always war, it’s always a fight,” said Shoba Sriaiyer with Act Now Seattle. “It’s a fight against the just and unjust.”

Sriaiyer said she believes grassroots initiatives like the March for Truth are the reason the Trump/Russia investigation has come this far, that Comey will be able to testify.

An economist, Sriaiyer said she wants Trump to release his tax returns, and to know what connections the president has to Russia. She added tech-savvy Seattle could help.

“I have faith — this is Seattle — we have technological heavyweights working on this,” Sriaiyer said.

A March for Truth paper banner was covered in letters from ralliers, as well as paint handprints. It is being sent to the White House, Wetzel said.