SAINT PAUL, Minn — Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered at Minnesota’s State Capitol in St. Paul to show their support for the divisive President.
More than 400 Trump supporters showed up with their “Make America Great Again” hats and signs to listen to Republican activists and lawmakers share their enthusiasm for policies passed by the Republican administration.
A Chinese-American family dressed in pro-Trump apparel said they agreed with Trump’s policies and declared America needed a system of “law and order.”
One man who was protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline said he “supported Trump” and just wanted the President to reconsider building the pipeline. The man also said “they [Trump supporters] are cool” and did not harass him.
While the rally started on a quiet note, things quickly escalated as a group of approximately 50 protesters showed up to show their dissatisfaction with the Trump administration.
The protest, which lasted for approximately one hour, quickly shifted into a dangerous situation. Before the event began, police say they had not received intelligence to suggest what to expect from either supporters or protesters.
Protesters and supporters began trading chants at one another. Statements like “Black Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “Build the Wall,” “Tear it Down,” “Get a Job,” and “F*** White Supremacy” were just some of the statements traded between the two groups as the event occurred just feet away in the rotunda.
While there were a few Trump supporters purposely agitating the protesters, St. Paul police report six arrests, all of them anti-Trump protesters.
Police created a human barrier between the groups on the main floor. Pro-Trump supporters stood behind the police occasionally chanting “Blue Lives Matter,” while protesters faced the cops who pushed them back onto a staircase leading to the floor of the rotunda.
The protesters came prepared for a fight with pro-Trump supporters. In the crowd, protesters put in orange earplugs to block the sound of noisemakers. One young African-American man wore lab safety goggles, and several young men and women wore bandannas to cover their faces.
At least a half dozen altercations broke out between the groups. Protesters released several canisters of mace into the crowd. Protesters also set off smoke bombs and firecrackers in the newly remodeled Capitol building.
One protester used a taser on a Trump supporter. Steve, 59, explained he stepped in to help a security guard who was being attacked by protesters. “I didn’t even realize it happened until someone pointed it out.” Steve was tasered a couple of times by the protester.
Police eventually moved protesters up the stairs and out of the building where they protested some more. They eventually moved from the Capitol.
The Trump rally, which was scheduled to end around 3 p.m. disbursed shortly after 1:30 p.m.
Rallies for Trump were scheduled around the country. Protests were also scheduled to occur Saturday afternoon in front of the Government Center in Minneapolis.