Hundreds gathered in downtown San Diego on Sunday afternoon to call for the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner, who is beset by over a dozen accusers who claimed he sexually harassed them. Billed as “Freedom from Filner,” the rally featured one of Filner’s alleged victims, as well as organizers of an effort to gather signatures to recall the mayor.
Two counter-demonstrators, who charged the scandal was driven by local developers, heckled throughout.
They were frequently confronted by the crowd.
Wearing bright blue t-shirts reading “Please Resign Mayor FIlner!” and waving homemade signs such as “Stop Embarrassing Our City, Filner! Quit” demonstrators cheered and chanted to the accompaniment of a snare drum.
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents at least three of Filner’s accusers, addressed the gathering as well, speaking alongside Peggy Shannon, a 67-year-old great-grandmother who came forward with her allegations last week.
She invoked the upcoming anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” to promote a “dream of gender of equality.”
“Mayor Filner, you apparently do not share that dream of gender equality,” she said. “And that is why you must go!”
“Bob must go! Bob must go!” the crowd chanted. (“Go home!” shouted a heckler.)
“You have betrayed the trust of the people of San Diego when they voted you in as mayor,” Allred concluded, endorsing the recall effort. “It is time for you to go!”
From the plaza in front of the Civic Center, organizers led the demonstrators on a march through the downtown area, bearing petitions to collect signatures for Filner’s recall.