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Minnesota confronts Trump

By Brad Sigal and Meredith Aby-Keirstead |
August 25, 2016
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Militant Aug. 19 protest against Trump in Minneapolis, MN
Militant Aug. 19 protest against Trump in Minneapolis, MN (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Over 300 protesters rallied outside the Minneapolis Convention Center Aug. 19 as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came to Minneapolis for a private big-money fundraiser with rich supporters. Most of the Minnesota Republican Party distanced itself from the Trump event and the small group of attendees paid a minimum of $1000 to meet the candidate and represent rich right-wing extremists of the Republican Party.

The location and time of Trump’s fundraiser was kept secret until the day before the event. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) called a protest focusing on Trump’s attacks on immigrants, which have been a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has called for dramatically increasing militarization of the U.S.-México border and for deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

MIRAC’s protest began with dancing by Kalpulli Ketzal Coatlicue, then continued with speakers from MIRAC, the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Anti-War Committee, Welfare Rights Committee, IWW, and others.

MIRAC’s No More Deportations campaign was explained, which is building a “Pledge of Resistance to Trump & Attacks on Immigrants.” This campaign is building the movement against Trump’s anti-immigrant politics, while making preparations to resist increased attacks on immigrant communities after the election.

Several other organizations and movements also had a presence outside of Trump’s fundraiser. Members of the Black Coalition and AR14 for Justice (a youth organization founded out of the fight for justice for Philando Castile) rallied at rear entrances, aiming to block Trump’s entry. At the front, protesters confronted Trump supporters as they climbed out of their limousines and made their way through the hostile crowd. Trump’s campaign had hoped to have a public rally in Minneapolis but according to news reports they were unable to pull a public event together due to concerns with how to deal with large protests.

After MIRAC’s rally, many protesters stayed and continued to confront the Trump and his supporters. Near the end of the event a group of loud protesters got in the doors of the Convention Center with a megaphone to denounce Trump and banged on the glass outside the event space. Others spray painted anti-Trump graffiti. Some Trump campaign signs and t-shirts were set on fire.

At the end of the event, around 100 protesters surrounded Trump’s motorcade. Facing off with police and heavily harmed security, they chanted, “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA!” Protesters delayed the candidate from leaving until police violently intervened to help Trump escape.

Jess Sundin, an activist with the Anti-War Committee and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, summed up the protest, “While most Minnesota republicans boycotted Trump’s fundraiser, forces from across the social movement here came together to shut down his reactionary message, and confront his supporters. Not one of them got into the Convention Center without being called out for supporting racism and Islamophobia. Even when they got rough, we never backed down. Youth, immigrants and Black folks were on the frontlines, the anti-war movement was here, everyone worked together to make this a powerful protest, from start to finish.”

Earlier in the day, two other organizations also protested Donald Trump’s presence in Minneapolis. Cosecha organized a “Wall Off Trump” protest for most of the day outside the Minnesota Republican Party office, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) had a press conference denouncing the Trump campaign’s rampant Islamophobia and recent attacks on the Somali-American community in particular.