PHOTOS: Pro and Anti-Trump Protesters Rally Outside Convention Center

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With all the political turmoil in the wake of events in Charlottesville, Va., the president’s visit to Reno was a chance for locals to voice their concerns, for and against President Trump. Unlike his visit to Arizona, which was ripe with political disruption, Trump’s visit to Reno was to speak at the National convention of the American Legion, a non-partisan US veterans organization.

Protesters were not there in protest of the American Legion, but rather solely to direct their anger at the 45th president, save for a few mentions of Sen. Dean Heller. Three groups made up the day’s events: the anti-Trump protesters, the pro-Trump counter-protesters, and the Reno Police Department.

The anti-Trump protesters secured a permit to demonstrate and Peckham Lane was specifically closed for them to protest. Many other roads were closed in the area, but primarily for security reasons.

Protesters did not pull any punches when it came to criticizing President Trump, chanting “Trump go home” and carrying signs depicting Trump as a Ku Klux Klan member or a Nazi. Others called for impeachment. Some carried signs relating to the American Legion event, depicting parents and grandparents who had served in the armed forces. The group grew into the hundreds and Reno Police maintained the crowd as best they could. At one time the Police used their bikes as impromptu barricades, which worked surprisingly well and the protesters respected.

The pro-Trump counter protest was notably smaller, only numbering into the 30s by my estimate, though they were more spread out and difficult to get a solid count. Many wore the iconic “Make America Great Again” hats or waved Trump campaign flags. Some stayed at a distance while others worked their way into the anti-Trump crowd.

The two groups did not physically altercate to any serious degree. I personally witnessed a Trump supporter have his headphones taken by and anti-Trump protester after being asked to be interviewed. Interviews were used to agitate anti-Trump supporters and were not in any association with the professional media. Even this ended when a police officer returned the headphones to their rightful, if not troublesome, owner.  I personally witnessed this level of altercation many times, though none went beyond a police officer’s intervention politely asking them to separate.

The major conflicts came at the end of the event, six minutes before the protest permit ended and after most people had left. They were between more the more devoted individuals on each side. Face-to-face arguments on the sidewalk took place with topics ranging from the war in Syria, to transgender rights, voting discrimination, constitutional interpretation, race, and likely many other things. These continued until the Reno Police and Atlantis security persuasively but politely broke up the arguments.

As a final note, the Reno Police Department deserves praise for their handling of the protests. While they had a very forceful presence, which included the Washoe County RAVEN helicopter, I never once witnessed an officer lose his temper. They calmly talked to individuals who were at odds and were able to diffuse situations quickly while still giving people the opportunity to argue and protest.

Reno may not have had one of the biggest protests in these past few weeks, but it was perhaps one of the most non-violent.

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Ty O'Neil
About Ty O'Neil 88 Articles
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at ThisisReno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad

3 Comments

  1. What strikes me the most about this event is that it was peaceful. That is worth a lot in today’s world. Having differences of opinions and peaceful gatherings is what America was known for. I am heartened by this in the face of the previous violence in Charlottesville. I hope that we all will continue to take the high road whenever we have the opportunity to do so.

  2. Just to add some clarity to this point. There was a letter of welcome to the Legionaires in the program handed out to the members who attended the convention from the mayor. I saw none of the members of Council or the Mayor on hand to greet the President. I was told that Commissioner Bob Lucey (R) was there on behalf of Washoe County, but I didn’t see him. Published comments from Jenny Brekhus and others saying that the President was not welcome here, were just rude and that sort of thing hurts our city’s reputation, and hurts local businesses by discouraging other groups from having their conventions here.

    To all of our local citizens, make a point to contact national groups with whom you have affiliation and encourage them to come to Reno with regional and national conventions. So few people at the grassroots level make these types of ovations that they have a significant impact. This also works with national business chains. For example, Nordstrom, Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A decided to locate stores here after being contacted by local Reno citizens.

    On the one hand, Reno Council wants to be a, “Welcoming City” meaning welcoming to illegal invaders, bums and habitual drug users. I say that is the wrong approach and I hope others will voice their disapproval of the current Council at the next two elections.

    Regardless of our political affiliation, I hope that we all can be polite to those who come here to visit us, including those who are in the opposite political party. While I am a registered Democrat, I attended the American Legion convention and applauded the President’s speech, since I agreed with all of what he said. Had i disagreed, I would have still politely listened to what he had to say. You don’t learn anything by shouting over someone else or boycotting their speeches. I used to organize, Bike-to-Obama events back East when I lived there, not because I agreed with every position he took, but because it was good for downtown business and it helped more citizens get an unfiltered view of their President.

    Democrats and Republicans should always set the example of civility, instead of acting like those bizarre characters from the Jerry Springer show. Where there is common ground, such as what would be good for local business and jobs, it should be really easy for members of the two main parties to work together to help our citizens.

    This current Reno City Council takes hyper-partisan stands in order to make a political point; actions that harm our local convention prospects and deny citizens of jobs and income.

    We need a completely new Council made up of citizens who have good manners and who will discourage bums from coming here, while promoting local business and jobs, by welcoming more and larger conventions here.

  3. I find it quite disturbing that the City of Reno has decided to speak on all of it’s citizens behalf. Requesting that President Trump not come to Reno, NV.
    I wanted him to come to Reno as do many other citizens. Please don’t push your political views on all of Reno Citizens in the future.

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