Petition calls to remove socialist councilwoman for ‘abuse of power'

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Thousands of supporters have signed an online petition calling for the removal of councilwoman Kshama Sawant after she encouraged a “nationwide shutdown” on President-elect Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day.

>> Related: What to know about councilwoman's call for ‘nationwide shutdown' on Inauguration Day

The writer of the petition claims Sawant is “not respecting the will of the people, and it wants her removed for “abuse of power.”

“She's using her platform to incite violence and call for protests and riots,” the petition said. “Our elected officials should be helping and bringing people together in our communities not promoting hate towards our democracy. Whether you like the outcome or not of the election, we look upon our officials to follow the laws of this country.  Let's help bring people together and follow the laws to get things done not promote hate and dismay because this election did not go her way.  Let's send a message to our local Mayor that she should step down from her position or be impeached. It is not appropriate for elected officials to call for protests.”

Historically, it’s been difficult for online petitions similar to this one to have a legal impact. One of the requirements is that it needs 35 percent certified valid signatures in her district. 

The outrage comes after Election Day, when Sawant called for a massive protest at Westlake Park and a shutdown on Inauguration Day. Here's what to know about Sawant's call for protests.

How did Sawant encourage the demonstrations?

In a packed post-election rally at Seattle City Hall on Wednesday afternoon, socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant called for a massive protest on Wednesday night and a nationwide shutdown on Inauguration Day in response to president-elect Donald Trump.

>> Related: What does Trump's presidency mean for Washington state?

“I appeal to you, [Wednesday] at 4 o’clock, at Westlake [Park], let’s have a massive protest, and tell America we do not accept a racist agenda,” Sawant said. “And let’s make sure on Inauguration Day … let’s do a nationwide shutdown.”

What happened at the protest?

More than 2,200 people responded to the Facebook event Wednesday indicating they plan to attend the demonstration in “mass opposition to Trump and his agenda.”

Read an real-time log of the protest here.

During the rally at Westlake Park, Sawant reiterated her message in telling demonstrators that "we are stronger than the billionaires" and "their capitalists system.”

The protest against President-elect Donald Trump at Westlake Center grew into a march with several hundred people across the streets of Seattle.

The protest departed from downtown Seattle and marched through Capitol Hill and ended in the University District.

The original protest was organized by the Socialist Alternative, and included concerned members of the LBGTQ community, immigrants and Muslims worried about the Trump presidency.

Can she do this? 

Sawant said protesting is exactly why her constituency elected her to do. KIRO 7 News reporter Amy Clancy took your email and social media questions to the councilwoman – asking if it’s appropriate for elected city officials to call for protests.

Is this Sawant’s first time calling for a large protest?

The councilwoman made headlines in 2014 for being among several people arrested at Alaska Airlines headquarters in SeaTac during a demonstration protesting the company’s failure to pay workers $15 an hour. Watch video here.

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