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Protestors hold candlelit vigil for democracy outside White House

Chris Riotta
Protesters rally outside the White House in Washington after Donald Trump's return from Helsinki, Finland: REUTERS

Hundreds of protestors mourned the supposed death of American democracy outside of the White House, as a mariachi band performed within earshot distance of Donald Trump's living quarters.

A dramatic, candlelit vigil was held on Wednesday night in Washington, as demonstrators condemned the president and Republican leadership for moving forward with the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. Mr Kavanaugh has previously said he would "put the final nail" in an expired 1988 Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the constitutionality in creating independent counsels to investigate the president. Though the ruling is no longer active, the Justice Department has used it as a precedent to create guidelines governing independent counsels.

"Here’s the situation: the president is trying to print himself a get out of jail free card. Are we gonna let him have that card?" Jeff Merkely, a Democratic senator from Oregon, asked the crowd of protestors. "Hell no we’re not!"

On Wednesday night, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton hired the 12-person mariachi band to perform throughout the night.

"I just got off the phone with an individual who is the coordinator of Mariachi bands and his first question was … Your primary goal is volume right? Yep," Adam Parkhomenko, the former adviser who also scheduled a multi-day protest outside of the White House this week, tweeted.

More than 500 demonstrators arrived to the Wednesday night protest in Lafayette Square, where they were provided candles and chanted, "Hell naw Kavanaugh, Trump is not above the law!"

The nomination of Mr Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was just one of the issues raised by Democratic speakers, however. John Sarbanes, a Maryland congressman, condemned the president for his controversial performance at this week’s press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in which Mr Trump appeared to defy his own US intelligence community.

"Welcome defenders of democracy; you are a beautiful sight," he said, adding: "Mr. President, why will you not protect our democracy?"

Organisers have been planning protests this week in at least 200 cities across the country, with one demonstration held each night since Mr Trump’s return from Finland on Monday. Protestors have been joined by Democratic officials, progressive figures and even entertainment groups.

Mr Trump has not commented on the recent series of protests outside of the White House, though he previously tweeted after the historic inaugural Women’s March: "Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognise the rights of people to express their views."

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.