Groups rally and protest during Brett Kavanaugh-Christine Blasey Ford hearing

Protests planned around country

By DAKIN ANDONE AND JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Much of the nation tuned in Thursday for the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh was to testify later Thursday.

But some people have decided that simply watching the hearing and waiting for US senators to come to their own conclusions on Kavanaugh's confirmation is not enough. They've opted to make their voices heard, whether it be for Kavanaugh's confirmation or against.

Among them were demonstrators such as Emily Qualey, who told CNN she and nine others drove more than 500 miles to pressure their senator, Susan Collins of Maine, to vote no on Kavanaugh.

Qualey and others silently lined the halls outside of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Their mouths were taped shut with the words "Believe women" written on the tape.

But they're not the only ones demonstrating against the backdrop of the Kavanaugh-Blasey Ford hearing.

Here are a few protests and rallies happening around the country:

#CancelKavanaugh

The Women's March has organized what it called a "mass mobilization" in Washington to support Ford as she tells her story.

Women and their allies appeared energized as they marched from the Hart Senate Office Building to the Capitol Reflecting Pool before continuing to the US Supreme Court. At the front of the line were survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The crowd let out a series of chants -- "We believe Christine Ford," and "Hey hey! Ho ho! Kavanaugh has got to go."

One demonstrator, Anne Sheridan, told CNN she came out to support Ford and ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear the testimonies of other accusers who have come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has denied the women's allegations.

"Hopefully we're showing the sort of depth of emotion and experience around this," Sheridan said. "Women's voices and perspectives on this have not been represented so far in the process, so we are resorting to coming out in person to make sure our voices are heard."

Organizers also used the opportunity to encourage protesters to go to the polls in November and vote out elected officials whose views don't align with their constituents' beliefs.

"We need your outrage at the polls," activist Linda Sarsour told the crowd.

"There are 11 Republican white men on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are some of the most powerful men in America, and they need to know that you are more powerful than them and that they work for you, the American people."

National Solidarity Speakout

The protests weren't just taking place in the nation's capital. If opponents of Kavanaugh's confirmation couldn't make it to Washington, the organization put out a national callout for a day of action.

According its website, dozens of events were to take place at noon local time around the country.

Demonstrators were show up to their senators' offices, wear black and have a moment of silence in "solidarity with Dr. Blasey Ford and survivors everywhere who have been silenced for too long." They also were to share their own stories of sexual assault, the website said.

Participants were asked to write the words "I BELIEVE" on their palms, and to bring letters to their senators asking them to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation.

'Confirm Kavanaugh'

But Kavanaugh has vocal supporters as well.

On Thursday morning, a coalition of conservative groups called Women for Kavanaugh gathered outside the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington to voice their backing of President Donald Trump's nominee to the high court.

Women held signs that said, "I stand with Brett," and "Confirm Kavanaugh," as they listened to a slate of conservatives speaking out for the nominee in the face of the allegations.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, told the group that the experience Ford has described "does sound absolutely awful."

"However, as a mother also of sons, I want to speak for the fact that men need to have due process as well; we need to be able to hear both sides and not jump to judgment," Severino said.

"We have a choice today to confirm a judge who is one of the most highly respected and qualified judges in this nation, or confirm a smear campaign as our way of doing politics. I would urge our senators to stop this circus and vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh."

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