Protesters Take To Downtown Toms River

Protesters outside of Townsquare Media’s downtown studios in Toms River on 2/23/17. (Photo by Catherine Galioto)

OCEAN COUNTY – Several dozen folks waited for Rep. Tom MacArthur to arrive, for a scheduled radio interview at the Townsquare Media building in downtown Toms River.

Many were chanting and holding signs with anti-Trump messages, while others showed up in support. Several police officers stood nearby helping to direct vehicle traffic as crowds spilled into Robbins Street.

Mitch Seim of Brick with his anti-Trump sign. (Photo by Catherine Galioto)

MacArthur was criticized for not holding a town hall with constituents, instead hosting a conference-call style event. Crowds downtown chanted “You can’t run, you can’t stall, all we wants a town hall.”

MacArthur fielded a variety of questions while at his scheduled radio interview on WOBM, and at the end thanked folks for calling in, even those asking his stance on presidential impeachment. He said on air that though he disagreed, that did not mean he’d “be giving the President or anyone for that matter a free pass,” mentioning he is sometimes in opposition to his party, for example on policy surrounding flood insurance.

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During this broadcast, crowds continued to peacefully protest. After the show, the Congressman came back outside and spoke with the crowd for about 40 minutes and took questions on a range of issues including healthcare, gun control, the environment, and President Trump.

Some supporters came out as well as those opposed. (Photo by Catherine Galioto)

MacArthur released a statement on the exchange outside, saying:

“Tonight, during my regular “Ask the Congressman” radio program, a sizable group of my constituents peacefully demonstrated outside the WOBM studios. I respect each of them – those who disagree with me as much as those who agree with me – for exercising our most precious, God-given right of free expression.

After the radio program, I went out to the group and promised I would honestly answer their questions and asked in return that they let me

Congressman MacArthur meets with protesters after the broadcast. (Photo courtesy of Tom MacArthur’s Twitter Page)

speak without drowning out my answers. And that began some genuine, open, respectful conversation that touched on a range of issues including healthcare, gun control, the environment, and of course President Trump.

As I shared with my constituents tonight, I grew up with a Mom who was a progressive democrat and a Dad who was a conservative republican. They loved each other and I love and respect both of them. Talking with this crowd tonight was like dinner back at home. I’m grateful for those who took the time to make me a better representative and I always welcome the opportunity to have productive conversations with my constituents.”

For more photos from the scene, follow Micromedia Publications on Instagram @micromediapubs.