‘Trump or Death:’ dueling protests outside court mirror US divide
Dozens of Donald Trump supporters demonstrated outside the courthouse where the former president is due to be arraigned on criminal charges Tuesday, as a handful of vocal counter-protestors shouted an anti-fascist message.
Members of the New York Police Department community affairs division stepped into the fray as the pro-Trump side — many sporting familiar “MAGA” hats and attire emblazoned with the American flag — yelled slurs at their opposition.
But it was the crush of reporters taking up most of the space outside Manhattan’s criminal court ahead of the unprecedented indictment of a US president at a 2:15 pm (1815 GMT) hearing.
Trump was set to arrive early afternoon to face charges likely related to alleged campaign finance violations over his hush payments to a porn star while running for his first presidential term.
The anti-Trump camp unfurled a large banner reading “Trump lies all the time” and chanted “Lock him up!” as Team MAGA waved a flag with the slogan “Trump or Death.
George Santos — the New York Republican congressman accused of lying his way into office — made a brief appearance in the park where the extreme right representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is due to hold a rally for Trump.
Paulina Farr travelled into the city from suburban Long Island to “show support to our president Trump.”
The retired nurse told AFP she was also at the January 6 storming of the Capitol Building in Washington by Trump supporters and called Tuesday’s protest “tremendously different.”
She vowed to press on: “We know the truth. I’m not afraid.”
The 76-year-old Trump remains a front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, though the still sealed charges that will be unveiled Tuesday potentially threaten to throw his viability as a candidate into question.
He is also using the case to energize his support base and raise millions of dollars for his bid to reclaim the White House next year.
At one point during the demonstrations, a Trump supporter attempted to rip the other side’s banner, prompting police to step in.
“I’ve been jumped several times now,” a regular anti-Trump protestor, Laurie Biter, told AFP.
The 64-year-old praised the charges against Trump but added that, “It’s not just an indictment going through a court.”
“It’s an indictment that we, as people of good conscience, have to bring.”