As Trump fans turn out for rally, critics protest across the street

Local News

As thousands turned out for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s rally at the Berglund Center, some protesters also staged demonstrations across the street.

Hundreds of Donald Trump’s supporters eagerly lined up to be among the first to enter the Berglund Center for Trump’s rally, including Annie Lin, who arrived at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, nearly 14 hours before the start of the rally, so she and her son could be the first in line.

Lin said she wanted to get a front-row seat in hopes that Trump would sign her cap.

“He says he will make America great,” she said. 

But others were not as excited to see Trump in town.

“I don’t want Donald Trump to come to my city and not be challenged,” said Rick Howell, a Hillary Clinton supporter. 

Howell was among several dozen who demonstrated against Trump.

“I want people in Roanoke who perhaps may be undecided, may be leaning one way or the other to realize that we’re willing to stand out here in the hot [weather] for Hillary Clinton because we truly believe she is the best candidate,” Howell said. 

Protesters stood at the intersection of Williamson Road and Orange Avenue chanting and holding up signs Saturday afternoon.

While some of the protesters were supporting Clinton, others expressed support for third-party candidates or remain undecided. But they said what unites them is their stand against the Republican presidential nominee.

“He’s not for the people,” said Shelea Haskins, a protester. “He’s for himself. He doesn’t care. All he cares about is winning. And as soon as he gets in the White House, he’s going to do a whole 360.”

Trump supporters we spoke with shared mixed reaction to protests like this one. While some said they don’t mind the demonstrations, others said they wish the protesters had a more open mind about Trump.

“I think they’re not informed, and they listen to rhetoric, and they don’t understand the facts,” said Edward McElmurray, a Trump supporter who attended the rally. “Anything as important as a vote – you should investigate like you would any other business decision.”

“Everybody has a different opinion,” Lin said. “I don’t mind – I listen. I listen to everybody.”

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