Trump rally gathers support, protest
By Stefan Lembo-Stolba
Donald Trump packed the Times Union Center last Monday, momentarily filling the Albany arena with tension, resulting in a fight and the removal of several protesters.
According to a representative from the Transportation Security Adminstration, TSA , an estimated 17,000 people attended the Republican front-runner’s first large event in his home state.
Before the event began, Trump’s standard pre-speech message told the crowd not to harm or touch protesters if they began demonstrating nearby. Instead, attendees were instructed to raise their “Trump” signs over their head and chant “Trump” until security came to remove the protester.
During Trump’s speech, an unidentified protester was led out of the Times Union Center after being struck in the face several times by a Trump supporter.
Mike Caraher, a Trump supporter, claimed to have confronted a heckler who was booing, striking him several times before the protester was removed, according to a report by the Times Union.
A video of the incident shows Caraher lunging at the protester making contact with the man’s face twice.
“I have my personal rights and my personal space,” Caraher told the media after the rally. “They’re going to start yelling about some bulls–t, I’ll snatch your ass up.”
Trump spoke for over an hour, occasionally interrupted by protesters, which he had removed from the arena.
He responded to one ousting by saying, “Don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt that person.”
“Isn’t it a shame?” he said. “But it does make it exciting, right?”
A Trump supporter and traveling T-shirt vendor who asked to be referred to as Whitey said, “I come for the charged environment.” Whitey, who owns a racetrack in Virginia, has traveled to more than 25 rallies and three Trump speeches to sell campaign merchandise.
“It’s charged, like a good race,” he said, referring to the event. “I got a pocket full of money and everyone wants to fight. I love it.”
By 1 p.m. Trump supporters lined the side of the Times Union Center and within three hours were wrapped around the block. People in line chanted, “Build a Wall,” “USA,” and “Trump, Trump, Trump it up,” while occasionally stopping to yell at passing Bernie Sanders supporters.
Fearlessly brandishing Bernie Sanders pins, Jashaod Chaney and Antonia Price waited in line to see Trump speak.
“I have to hear everyone’s side. It’s not a fair vote if you don’t hear everyone out,” Price said.
The couple, who had seen Bernie Sanders earlier in the day, arrived at the Times Union Center five hours before the Trump event was scheduled to start.
“I’m not a protester, I’m a listener,” she said.
Although the two received considerable grief for their Sanders paraphernalia, Chaney explained that he was not there to insight conflict.
“Yea, it’s uncomfortable when people say rude things to you and your girl,” he said. “But if anything bad happens, I’m out of here.”
As Trump supporters began to cram into the arena, dozens of protesters assembled in a fenced-off corral on South Pearl Street. Among a group of young activists wielding flags and signs, a girl chanted, “Fuck Trump,” to which a Trump supporter in line responded, “Black Panther big mouth bitch.”
“I’m too radical man,” the woman followed up. “I can’t go near them. I’ll kill them.”
As the event came to a close, the packed arena emptied onto South Pearl Street, cascading around the corral of anti-Trump protesters. Mounted police stood guard as supporters and protesters continued to clashed after the event. No other physical altercations were reported.