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Trump Rally in Manchester Draws Fans, Protesters

Supporters and opponents of President Trump descended upon downtown Manchester ahead of his campaign rally Thursday night at the SNHU Arena.

There was at least one arrest Thursday afternoon, when police officers asked protesters to disperse from the entrance to the arena property.

Diana Ploss came from Boston for the rally.  She joined Trump’s election campaign in 2016 as a volunteer, and says this rally is a chance for her to connect in person with friends in her pro-Trump Facebook groups.

 

"I really just want to be here – I really love being with all the people who are coming to the rally. That’s what’s most exciting to me – no offense to president Trump," she said.

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Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR
Trump supporters wore red, white, and blue - and sported the campaign merchandise, like this Sons of Trump t-shirt.

 

President Trump's speech is expected to begin at 7 p.m.  Road closures and delays in downtown Manchester are expected throughout the evening.

 

A small number of protesters mingled with the Trump supporters at the entrance to one corner of the arena.

One man, who identified himself to NHPR as Peter Collins of Merrimack, held up a sign that read, "No Wall." As police officers told them to disperse, Collins refused, and was arrested while rally attendees hollered and applauded.

 

Yvonne Powell of Boston said she was compelled to attend the rally as a protester. She held up a sign, "End Racism."

"Mr. Trump has contributed to a significant increase in racism and division in this country and I believe that many of his policies have contributed to an increase in poverty in this country," she said. 

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Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR
Yvonne Powell of Boston said she was protesting Trump policies, but also making an appeal to his supporters that, as she put it, "there's another way."

Some downtown businesses were unhappy with the size of the event.

 

Allen Hendershot lives and runs a tattoo business on Elm Street. Standing in a Mexican restaurant surrounded by MAGA and Trump hats, Hendershot says the crowds might be good for restaurants, but not for his tattoo business.

Because of road closures, no one can drive to it.

"It’s a pain in the butt," he said. "I can’t park my car. I don’t have full access to my house. I had to close my business."

Hendershot pointed to a packed restaurant down the street owned by Chinese immigrants.

“I just think it’s a little ironic with Trump’s immigration policies and trade wars with China, and all the Trump people are in these two restaurants.”

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