Gatherings were held in 11 Iowa cities just after sunset Thursday — part of a national protest calling on congress to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Nancy Brown of Urbandale held a sign that read: “Worse than Nixon” — a reference to President Nixon’s firing of his attorney general and a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

“This development of the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ has been in slow motion through Trump’s whole tenure and none of the Republicans are standing up to him like Republicans of old,” Brown said.

Blake Crabb of Des Moines held an American flag in his right hand and a sign of protest in the other, calling on acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker — a native Iowan — to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation.

“I don’t think an acting attorney general should have an influence over Mueller’s investigation at the moment,” Crabb said. “For a lot of people here we see democracy dying slowly, day by day, very slowly. There’s not going to be a watershed moment, so we just have to get out and make our voices heard.”

Both of the Democrats just elected to congress on Tuesday say protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation should be a priority. Congresswoman-elect Cindy Axne did not attend one of the protests, but during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program Axne called for passage of a law that would shield Mueller from being dismissed prematurely.

“Here’s the deal: we need to ensure that Mueller’s investigation continues to go through and reach its conclusion to see where we’re at,” Axne said Thursday morning.

Abby Finkenauer, the congresswoman-elect for Iowa’s first district, did not attend a protest either. During an interview with Radio Iowa Thursday morning, Finkenauer said she didn’t run for congress to “dive into” this controversy, but she shared the same opinion as Axne.

“The number one thing we have to do is protect the Mueller investigation,” Finkenauer said. “We’ve got to take any, you know, politics out of this…making sure Mueller can do his job and then we will be expected to do ours.”

As for whether that means having CONGRESS investigate or impeach the president, Finkenauer said her “first job” in congress will be fixing health care and boosting federal funding for trade schools and apprenticeship programs.

A website called “Trump Is Not Above the Law” served as the hub for information about yesterday’s protests. It listed events in Ames, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Decorah, Des Moines, Dubuque, Indianola, Iowa City and Red Oak.