Protests planned as Trump holds rally in N.M.

Some will be gath­er­ing far from pres­i­dent to avoid re­peat of 2016 vi­o­lence

Santa Fe New Mexican - - FRONT PAGE - By Steve Ter­rell ster­rell@sfnewmex­i­can.com

The New Mex­ico Demo­cratic Party and a coali­tion of lib­eral ad­vo­cacy groups in the state have or­ga­nized a series of demon­stra­tions against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s planned speech Mon­day at the Santa Ana Star Cen­ter in Rio Ran­cho.

But the anti-Trump events will be in Old Town Albuquerqu­e, about 20 miles away from where Trump will be speak­ing.

Asked why her group de­cided to protest at Tiguex Park, far from the Trump rally, Marianna Anaya, a spokes­woman for Pro­gressNow New Mex­ico — which is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the coali­tion’s event, called NM United Against Trump: A Day of Cul­tural Re­sis­tance — said, “We wanted to make sure that fam­i­lies who want to go will have a safe place to go. We re­mem­ber what it was like last time Trump came here.”

Trump’s first ap­pear­ance in

New Mex­ico dur­ing the last pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, in May 2016 at the Albuquerqu­e Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, saw po­lice in riot gear use smoke bombs with pep­per spray on pro­test­ers who had gath­ered out­side.

Many pro­test­ers broke through metal bar­ri­ers and rushed po­lice, some throw­ing bot­tles and rocks.

Trump’s next ap­pear­ance, just days be­fore the Novem­ber 2016 elec­tion, was not as rau­cous, though some fights broke out around the hangar where he spoke at the Albuquerqu­e In­ter­na­tional Sun­port.

Anaya said some in the coali­tion also were con­cerned about re­ports that mem­bers of a far­right group called The Proud Boys — a “Western chau­vin­ist” pro-Trump or­ga­ni­za­tion that has been in­volved in vi­o­lent con­fronta­tions around the coun­try in re­cent years — would be at the Trump speech.

The leader of the New Mex­ico chap­ter of Proud Boys had sched­uled an event Fri­day in down­town Albuquerqu­e called Free­dom First Flag Wave. How­ever, just a hand­ful of “flag wa­vers” showed up at the event and were se­ri­ously out­num­bered by dozens who came to protest them.

Lau­rie Weah­kee of the Na­tive Amer­i­can Vot­ers Al­liance, which also is part of NM United Against Trump, said or­ga­niz­ers were “deeply con­cerned” about the pos­si­bil­ity of vi­o­lence against pro­test­ers at the Rio Ran­cho rally.

“We are 200 per­cent against vi­o­lence,” she said.

Other mem­bers of the coali­tion be­hind the event are El Cen­tro de Igual­dad y Dere­chos; Albuquerqu­e Cen­ter for Peace & Jus­tice; Equal­ity New Mex­ico; New Mex­ico Dream Team, NM Na­tive Vote; New Mex­ico Women’s March, Planned Par­ent­hood Votes New Mex­ico; Strong Fam­i­lies New Mex­ico; and the Sierra Club.

Im­me­di­ately be­fore the NM United Against Trump event, the state Demo­cratic Party has sched­uled an event called New Mex­ico for All at Tiguex Park.

Mi­randa van Dijk, spokes­woman for the party, said Fri­day, “We wanted to cre­ate an en­tirely dif­fer­ent feel­ing from the hate­ful rhetoric of Trump. We wanted to come and cel­e­brate our di­ver­sity.”

Sev­eral party lead­ers, in­clud­ing U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Lu­ján and Deb Haa­land, Sec­re­tary of State Mag­gie Toulouse Oliver and Albuquerqu­e Mayor Tim Keller, will speak at the event.

Trump is likely to face some pro­test­ers in Rio Ran­cho.

Sev­eral Trump protest events are listed on Face­book. Ef­forts to reach or­ga­niz­ers Fri­day were not suc­cess­ful.

An or­ga­nizer for one event page posted on Face­book that he and an­other man had met with Rio Ran­cho’s city man­ager and that the chief of po­lice had taken him to the site of the pro­posed protest lo­ca­tion.

“It is a large area close to the Santa Ana Star Cen­ter,” Gary Cof­fin wrote Wed­nes­day. “I was im­pressed. Much larger and closer than what I was ex­pect­ing.”

LUIS SÁNCHEZ SAT­URNO/NEW MEX­I­CAN FILE PHOTO

Pro­test­ers push down bar­ri­ers out­side the Albuquerqu­e Con­ven­tion Cen­ter dur­ing a cam­paign rally held by Don­ald Trump in May 2016. Some coun­ter­protesters for Mon­day’s rally plan to be miles away to re­duce the like­li­hood of vi­o­lence.

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