Protesters emerge because the president arrives »Albuquerque Journal
Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Opponents of President Donald Trump mocked his campaign message in signs and t-shirts – “Make tacos great again,” one shirt said – as they filled Tiguex Park in Albuquerque to protest the president’s first visit to New Mexico.
The New Mexico Democratic Party organized the event, which was attended by hundreds of people. Poets, elected officials, and others addressed the crowd under a banner that announced “One New Mexico for All.”
US Representative Deb Haaland, a Democrat from Albuquerque and one of the first two Native American women elected to the house, had the microphone when Air Force One landed at Kirtland Air Force Base, 15 miles away.
“In New Mexico,” said Haaland, “we stand for the truth. … We stand together to fight for the right to speak out against racism and bigotry. “
The Tiguex Park event was one of several protests in New Mexico late Monday.
In Rio Rancho, about 200 protesters gathered before Trump’s rally at the Santa Ana Star Center.
Profanity filled the air at one point when supporters and opponents of the president were yelling at each other. The state police escorted at least one woman away.
Police later handcuffed someone else for having a gun, which an official said is illegal at federal events.
The Rio Rancho demonstrators sporadically sang, “Not my President” and “What do we want? Impeachment Proceedings! When do we want it? Now!”
The Albuquerque event had a very different tone now. People took dogs, blankets and signs as they spread out on the lawn in the park, a 10-minute walk from Old Town Square.
Ellen Robinson, a retiree from Albuquerque, wore a “Pussy Power” T-shirt as she prepared to listen to Democratic leaders address the crowd. Trump’s political message, she said, would not resonate with ordinary New Mexicans.
“All over the neighborhood here,” said Robinson, “we have such a rainbow of people.”
David Starr, a land development consultant from Rio Rancho, said he attended the Tiguex Park rally because he didn’t want to be in his hometown when the president arrived. He wore a shirt with an eagle and an American flag and described himself as a former Republican who opposed Trump.
“I haven’t left the Republican Party,” said Starr. “The Republican Party has left me.”
Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was meanwhile in Santa Fe, where she welcomed heads of state from Deming and Luna Counties to the governor’s residence. She honored them for their humanitarian work amid an increase in migrants released to southern New Mexico.
Albuquerque police were heavily represented in the city center on Monday. Downtown government offices were closed prematurely and traffic and parking were restricted.
Authorities hoped to avoid the tension that gripped downtown Albuquerque after one of Trump’s rallies in 2016, when supporters and opponents of then-candidate Trump exchanged insults.
What began as a peaceful protest that night turned into fiery violence as protesters jumped into police cars and broke windows. Some threw burning T-shirts and bottles at the police.
In any case, the protests on Monday had a completely different tone when the president’s opponents gathered that afternoon.
The Democratic Party event in Tiguex Park included short speeches by Haaland, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and US Representative Ben Ray Luján. The crowd sang “Lock him up” once when speakers criticized Trump and vowed to keep New Mexico blue.
“This president has no moral guidance whatsoever,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller told the cheering crowd. “He is at the top – the most powerful person in the world – and leads without compassion, without personal responsibility and without a moral compass.”
Near the Star Center
In Rio Rancho, east of the Santa Ana Star Center, several police officers lined the sidewalk near the group of protesters.
Ericka Mitchell, 28, was holding a sign that said, “Science is real. Black lives count. No one is illegal. Love is love Women’s rights are human rights. Kindness is everything. “
Mitchell said she was there to promote “love and tolerance”.
“I don’t think our president represents that. Being in office brought a lot of hatred, ”she said.
Immigration is a big reason 36-year-old Jesse Heitner protested on Monday.
He took a religious approach to his news.
He held a sign with Bible verses, Matthew 25: 44-45 and Leviticus 19: 33-34.
As a Christian, he said, his religion can be something in common with Trump’s followers.
“I think it’s a language they’re most likely to hear,” he said.
He particularly hopes his messages will change people’s minds when it comes to immigration.
“If there is a foreigner living with you in your country, do not abuse them. The foreigner who lives below you must be treated as your native, ”was part of his mark.
David Campbell, Rio Rancho city manager, said a designated protest area east of the Star Center was selected because it was within sight and within earshot of the main event. He said these two things are required to find a space for protest that is consistent with the rights of the First Amendment.
Campbell stressed that protesters are not confined to this room and have the right to protest outside of the room. The area was cordoned off for organizational purposes.
“Everyone can be anywhere. They are not written, ”he said.
In fact, the protesters eventually moved closer to the Star Center.