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Hundreds turn out for 'peaceful' protest of Donald Trump's event in Colorado Springs

July 29, 2016 Updated: July 29, 2016 at 9:13 pm
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photo - Violet Clarke leads a chant in protest of Donald J. Trump outside the Gallogly Events Center at UCCS on Friday, July 29, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette
Violet Clarke leads a chant in protest of Donald J. Trump outside the Gallogly Events Center at UCCS on Friday, July 29, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette 

Chanting "elevate above the hate" and "love trumps hate," hundreds of protesters on Friday derided Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, his appearance in Colorado Springs and his vision for the nation.

"We are not against you - we are against hateful rhetoric; we are against language that divides," the crowd shouted as hundreds of Trump supporters filed past them on the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus.

Having organized on Facebook, a mix of UCCS students, professors and other community members railed against Trump during his first campaign trip to the city.

The protest came on the heels of a letter by roughly 115 UCCS faculty members who strongly condemned the candidate's rhetoric. Similar protests have taken place across the nation as Trump has stumped for the White House.

This one stayed peaceful, and law enforcement officers reported no arrests. Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak herself checked in on the protests multiple times Friday.

"I think it's been very peaceful and it has been appropriate for people to express different views," Shockley-Zalabak said.

As "Make America Great Again" hats filed past her, Carole Huber complained about Trump's willingness to insult Muslims, Mexican immigrants and people who are disabled.

"Much of what Trump says is against our statement of inclusion," said Huber, who teaches geography and environmental studies at UCCS.

Protestors make peaceful chants toward Donald J. Trump supporters as they wait in line to enter the Gallogly Events Center at UCCS on Friday, July 29, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette 

Signs all around her implored people to "build kindness, not walls" and "fight ignorance, not immigrants," and declared "America is already great!!"

One sign named Trump alongside World War II dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Holding artwork depicting Trump kissing Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brittany Smaridge, 30, called a possible Trump presidency "terrifying."

She implored people to "connect the dots" between the two men, while voicing fears that simply protesting, as she did Friday, may not be as easy with Trump as president.

"I think it's very telling that Donald Trump admires Vladimir Putin and his leadership," said, Smaridge, of Colorado Springs.

Trump's supporters repeatedly shouted back - yelling "Lock her up" in reference to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. As the day wore on, and the crowd dissipated, stragglers unleashed obscenity-laced tirades at each other.

As the protesters yelled "USA, USA," a woman in line to see Trump yelled and laughed: "Stop saying it - it's a Trump slogan."

The only chant that garnered applause from both sides: "Go Broncos."

As the protest wound down, Malcolm Miller, 26, yelled into a megaphone that Trump would set the nation back 65 years, to when the "separate-but-equal" legal doctrine ruled.

He called the demonstration important but disturbing, because at times he heard racial slurs against black and Hispanic people in attendance. "It was exactly what I've seen on the news - it's a country divided," said Miller, 26, who lives in the Security/Widefield area. "It's sad to see."

If Trump supporters were greeted with a barrage of chants against their candidate, they largely left amid cheers from supporters. Most protesters left halfway through the event.

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Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter: @jakobrodgers

Facebook: Jakob Rodgers

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