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Protesters rally downtown, demand Hawley’s resignation

DOWNTOWN – A group of union members and others who came to a rally Tuesday isn’t about to forget Sen. Josh Hawley’s role in events last week in Washington.

The protesters who gathered across the street from the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse want the U.S. senator from Missouri, a Republican, to resign for what they claimed was encouraging the riot and invasion of the U.S. Capital.

About 100 people listened as speakers including several union officials and a minister condemned Hawley and said it was time for him to go. If he didn’t leave, they said, he should be voted out of office when his term is up in 2022.

“Because of Josh Hawley, at least five people are dead. Because of Josh Hawley, many people will be arrested, charged with crimes and imprisoned,” said the Rev. James Ross of Metropolitan Congregations United. “Because of him, his own colleagues have been traumatized, after having to seek shelter, hiding in their offices. Many have shared stories about texting their loved ones to say ‘I love you’ for what might have been the last time.”

Protesters demonstrate downtown on Jan. 12, 2021, seeking the ouster of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., for his backing of President Donald Trump’s call for his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Jim Merkel/
Those who listened to the speakers expressed the same idea.

“We’re just here hopefully to get Hawley to straighten up and do what he was elected to do. He just hasn’t been doing that,” said Larry Arthur.

A protester expresses the sentiments of a crowd downtown on Jan. 12, 2021, seeking the ouster of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.    Photo by Jim Merkel/
One person carried a sign that read, “Josh Hawley needs to go from a written book to the book thrown at him.”

One of the speakers, Keena Smith, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2192, spoke of the federal employees and VA health care workers in her union.

“He does not represent us, and we want him gone,” Smith said. “The events that took place in our nation’s capital are a disgrace to our country and our democracy.

“Sen. Hawley doesn’t care about the community he’s supposed to represent. Nor does he care about the safety and the well being of the souls that work at the capitol, like the janitors, the food service workers, as well as his fellow cohorts whose lives were put at risk.” 

American Federation of Government Employees national President Everett Kelley added to Smith’s points.

“The reason we are asking for his exclusion is because he tried to overturn an election. Josh Hawley is supporting a lit supported by Donald Trump,” Kelley said.

“I personally don’t believe that he was surprised one bit by the violence that took place on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6,” Kelly said. “I knew it was going to happen, and I don’t have any special access and intelligence. I just read the paper. It was there for anyone to see. When Trump called the Proud Boys to stand down, he invited those thugs for a rally on the 6th of January and said it was going to be wild.”

Pat White, president of the St. Louis Central Labor Council, suggested that the best way to get rid of Hawley would be to vote him out. 

“Not only does he need to go, but they all need to go,” White said. “If Georgia, a more Southern state than us, can send a Black pastor and a Jewish white guy to the Senate, there is no reason Missouri can’t do the same in two years.”

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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