Survivors of sexual assault and their supporters stood shoulder to shoulder on the steps of New York’s City Hall on Monday, holding signs that read “I believe Christine,” “Misogyny bores me” and “Block InJustice Kavanaugh.”
In Washington, over 100 protesters were arrested after gathering in front of the Supreme Court and inside Senate office buildings.
They were part of a series of protests across the country to show solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, women who have publicly accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, of sexual misconduct.
At the base of the steps in New York, speakers — many of whom were involved in government or with social service organizations — gave statements to a crowd made up mostly of women.
“Whenever a survivor is bullied or belittled, we will fight back!” said Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York City.
Chants of “We have the power!” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” cut through the din of Lower Manhattan.
Dr. Blasey, a professor in California, is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about her claim that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers.
On Monday, amid the demonstrations, Judge Kavanaugh, who has categorically denied all allegations, vowed that he would not withdraw from the confirmation process.
The protests brought together women and men across the country for rallies and a walkout organized by a coalition that included Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, UltraViolet Action, Planned Parenthood and MoveOn.
In Washington, at least 128 people were arrested and charged with misdemeanors, according to the Capitol Police. About a third were arrested at about 10:30 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building for unlawfully participating in the demonstration. The rest were arrested at about 12:15 p.m. in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building.
Demonstrators sat in the hallway outside the office of Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, wearing shirts that read “Believe Women” and “Be A Hero.” They chanted “We believe Debbie Ramirez,” “We believe Dr. Ford” and “We believe Anita Hill,” a livestream of the demonstrations showed.
At Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh’s alma mater, some classes were canceled for the day. Students and faculty staged a sit-in on the first floor of the Sterling Law Building, where they sat in silence for about 30 minutes before participants gave speeches.
“This hits home,” said Mary Ella Simmons, a second-year law student from Winter Park, Fla. “Brett Kavanaugh walked these hallways.”
Scores of people voiced their support using the social media hashtags #BelieveWomen, #BelieveSurvivors and #StopKavanaugh — sharing photos of themselves and others, many of whom were dressed in all black.
Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon walked out, as did the comedian Samantha Bee and the staff of the show she hosts on TBS, “Full Frontal.” Celebrities including Allison Janney and Brie Larson also voiced their support for the protests on social media.
“We will not let Dr. Blasey Ford’s experiences be invalidated by partisan nonsense,” Ms. Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, tweeted on Monday. “This isn’t her burden to bear. She is the one who should be protected and if the government won’t do it then we will.”
In New York, Rama Issa, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, spoke of how, after being sexually assaulted, it took her many years to “piece together my broken soul.”
She was traumatized, she said, and plagued by guilt and shame. “Our culture is hard-wired to blame us,” she said. “We will not stand for this any longer. The wave of women is here.”
Sarah Donilon contributed reporting from New Haven.