picture from media partner 10News
Around 75 supporters of embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner rallied outside City Hall Monday, a day after a signature-gathering campaign to qualify a recall vote got underway.
Organizer and immigrant rights activist Enrique Morones said Filner backers would no longer stay silent.
"These joint community members of color, veterans, environmentalists, educators, women's rights, gays, civil rights, labor, human rights, unions, neighborhoods, immigration and many more -- we stand united in stopping the public mockery of our judicial system," Morones said. "Due process for Mayor Filner and due process for the accusers."
Filner has been publicly accused of sexual harassment by 17 women, the latest a real estate agent named Caryl Iseman who said he grabbed her breast at a fundraiser 25 years ago, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reported.
Kathleen Harmon, a volunteer for the Filner mayoral campaign who said she has marched with him many times, said he always exhibited "good" behavior at those times, and wondered why the accusations were coming out now.
"Is it because he is standing up for everybody, not a special interest?" Harmon asked. "Is it because he went into City Hall to give poor people, homeless, sick people a chance?"
Suzie Ditmars, of the Committee on the Status of Women, said she was "appalled" at the attacks on Filner and what she characterized as "pure vindictiveness" on the part of the mayor's opponents.
Another woman who attended the rally held a sign that read "We Forgive."
An exact count of attendees at the "Standing with Mayor Filner and Due Process" rally was difficult because some of his supporters, opponents and media mingled together.
The event was organized via the Facebook page "San Diegans for Mayor Bob Filner." The page was created in February -- nearly five months before Filner was accused of sexual harassment -- and had 349 "likes" as of early afternoon.
Supporters argue that the 70-year-old mayor is being denied his due process and that the recall campaign against him is being orchestrated by opponents of the former congressman's political agenda, not his alleged misdeeds.
They approached media microphones singing "We Shall Overcome," and ended it by chanting "due process."