- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

FORT LEE, N.J. (AP) - Some northern New Jersey residents returned to the scene of a notorious traffic jam Tuesday, urging people to sign a petition demanding that Gov. Chris Christie resign over lane closures that have created a major controversy for his administration.

About a dozen people gathered in freezing temperatures at a point overlooking the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, holding signs that said “Christie Resign”. The group included some people who said they were caught in traffic when the lanes were closed in September.

“This is a total abuse of power, and Christie and the rest of his crew need to understand that you cannot affect the lives of everyday New Jersey residents,” said Fort Lee resident Valerie Howard Fadul, who said she was stuck in gridlocked traffic for more than five hours trying to get home from a Manhattan doctor’s appointment as her pain medication wore off from a painful injection in her eye.

“It’s not fair. We’re the ones who put you in office, and you need to resign,” she said of Christie. “This is unacceptable.”

Released emails and text messages appear to show the lane closures were ordered by one of Christie’s top aides, apparently as political retribution. Christie has denied having direct knowledge of the lane closures at the time they were happening and said he didn’t know his aides had ordered them.

Robert Duffey of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, which organized the news conference with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said Christie should resign regardless.

“What we saw in Fort Lee represents a gross abuse of power by members of Chris Christie’s inner circle,” Duffey said. “Let’s be clear, whatever he knew and whenever he knew it, there was a culture in his office that allowed the people working for him to think that what they were doing was acceptable.”

The groups say more than 13,000 people have signed an online petition that asks Christie to resign.

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