SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—Supporters of former President Donald Trump have staged protests in many cities across the country following the FBI’s raid of his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.
In Southern California, demonstrations continued from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13, with different groups protesting in Palm Springs, Riverside, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles.
Dozens gathered in front of the Federal Building in Los Angeles on Aug. 13 to voice anger over FBI’s unprecedented move, with placards and banners reading “Liberty Not Tyranny,” ”Stand for Freedom,” “End FBI Tyranny,” and “Trump 2024.”
“We’re against the tyranny of the federal government taking unilateral actions against all different kinds of people in this country,” said Douglas James, one of the protesters. “And we really believe that there’s a greater evil behind all of this. They want to take people’s freedoms away.”
James said that he was shocked upon hearing the news, overwhelmed by a fear that everyday freedoms are being stripped away.
The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home allegedly in search of documents on Aug. 8. The agents spent a whole day searching the estate and, according to Trump, rummaged through Melania Trump’s closets, leaving the place in a mess.
Many demonstrators believe that the FBI’s true intent was to thwart Trump’s expected run for president in 2024.
James said that the Justice Department is looking for whatever excuse they can find to arrest Trump, which he called “wrong and evil.”
“We really feel they’re following a communist playbook of a takeover of this country,” he said.
Shiva Bagheri, founder of Beverly Hills Freedom and organizer of the demonstration, pointed out that the FBI’s raid is the same tactic communist regimes use in their political persecution of opposing voices and “the greatest threat to our constitutional rights.”
According to records made public so far, FBI agents seized 11 sets of documents from Trump’s residence, including four sets marked “top secret” and three sets marked “confidential.”
In response, Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social that “it was all declassified.” Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also stated that Trump possessed the “ultimate declassification authority” for these documents. Other legal experts, meanwhile, have said that any classified documents an outgoing president takes out of the White House are automatically declassified by that action.
Constitutional Rights Being ‘Ripped From Us’
Bagheri, who fled to the United States from a tyrannical country as a child, told The Epoch Times that the FBI’s actions violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from conducting “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
“They have to have some kind of actual evidence to go and do searches and seizures. And you know that this was a fishing expedition. If you have a warrant, they know exactly where they’re going. Why are they spending 10 hours going through and rummaging even through Melania‘s closet?”
“Seriously, this is weird. None of us are buying any of their baloney anymore,” she said.
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb said on Aug. 11 that she was at the scene during the raid, and that FBI agents prohibited her and other members of Trump’s legal team from watching their actions.
Bagheri said that this type of FBI execution was a unilateral action, and all its allegations lack credibility and validity.
“Our constitutional rights are being ripped from us and if they can be ripped from our real president that won the election,” she said. “That means none of us have constitutional rights under this regime.”
Praying for Trump
A sudden raid on the private residence of a former president has never occurred in the history of the United States.
“This is the biggest scandal in history,” said Felicia Novick.
She pointed out that the FBI spent 10 hours searching Trump’s residence despite his cooperation with government agencies before the raid. It is not only a waste of taxpayers’ money but also seemed like an attempt to cover up some facts, she said.
In her opinion, if this political persecution is successful, the once-free society of the United States will be completely transformed into a communist society.
“I pray for my president. I pray that justice is served,” she said.
Fellow protester Li Li said she believes that the FBI’s true intent is to prevent Trump from running for a second presidential term in 2024.
“In order to prevent Trump from running, the leftists have gone to extremes, using rogue tactics and violating the constitution,” she told The Epoch Times. “Therefore, we are here to stand up to defend the Constitution of the United States.”
When contacted for comment, a DOJ spokesperson directed The Epoch Times to the FBI and said, “at this moment, I don’t believe the department of Justice is making any comment.”