Protests and ral­lies planned down­town

Trump’s visit to city at­tracts both sides in po­lit­i­cal fight

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Tim Pru­dente Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter John Fritze con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. tpru­dente@balt­sun.com

Sup­port­ers of Don­ald Trump and op­po­nents plan to rally in down­town Bal­ti­more to­day, set­ting the stage for pos­si­ble clashes as the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee ad­dresses the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion of the United States at the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

Trumpis sched­uled to speak at1p.m. to­day, his first cam­paign ap­pear­ance in Bal­ti­more as the nom­i­nee. Heis to speak to Na­tional Guard of­fi­cers from around the coun­try as na­tional se­cu­rity has emerged as a cen­tral is­sue of the pres­i­den­tial race.

“This is a his­toric visit,” said Gary Collins, vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor with Mary­land For Trump. “We’re ex­pect­ing to see a large turnout.”

Mary­land For Trump is plan­ning a rally for 11 a.m. out­side the Transamer­ica Build­ing at 100 Pratt St. Or­ga­niz­ers urged par­tic­i­pants to ar­rive early and said they would dis­trib­ute Trump signs.

“You can­not ob­tain tick­ets to the speech,” the group wrote on Face­book. “How­ever we have been in­structed to line the streets to show our sup­port!”

Mean­while, the Peo­ples Power Assem­bly has or­ga­nized a protest against Trump. Ac­tivists plan to gather out­side the con­ven­tion cen­ter at 11:30 a.m.

Some pro­test­ers said they would march to the Transamer­ica Build­ing and con­front Trump sup­port­ers.

The goal, they said on Face­book, is to “shut down as much of down­town as pos­si­ble while mak­ing some chaos out­side the con­ven­tion cen­ter and maybe gain­ing ac­cess to dis­rupt him speak­ing.”

Peo­ples Power Assem­bly or­ga­nizer Sharon Black said a space would be des­ig­nated out­side the con­ven­tion cen­ter for those who wish to protest Trump with­out con­fronta­tion.

“There’s noth­ing wrong with a diver­sity of tac­tics,” she said. “Some peo­ple can en­gage and others may not be able to do that.”

ABal­ti­more po­lice spokesman said the U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice was han­dling se­cu­rity for Trump’s visit. Po­lice did not re­spond Sun­day evening to ad­di­tional ques­tions about se­cu­rity at the protests or pos­si­ble road clo­sures.

Trump has faced crit­i­cism from Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton and others for say­ing last week that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader than Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and that Amer­ica’s mil­i­tary lead­er­ship has been “re­duced to rub­ble.”

Mary­land, where Democrats out­num­ber Repub­li­cans by more than 2 to1, has voted for the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee in each of the last six elec­tions. A poll re­leased last week by An­napo­lis-based Opin­ionWorks found Clin­ton lead­ing Trump in the state by 29 points.

Collins pre­dicted a “his­toric turnout” for Trump in Mary­land. He cited the Repub­li­can’s “no-non­sense ap­proach to press­ing is­sues and eco­nomic dis­par­ity that is fac­ing the vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans.”

Black, of Peo­ples Power Assem­bly, said Trump’s mes­sage op­poses im­mi­grants, poor fam­i­lies and the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity.

“Trump does not rep­re­sent the peo­ple of Bal­ti­more,” she said.

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