- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

DENVER (AP) - Several hundred people rallied in support of President Donald Trump outside the state Capitol in Denver on Saturday, listening to speakers including former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and sometimes facing off with a much smaller group of anti-Trump demonstrators.

Speaking on the West Steps facing the mountains, Tancredo drew cheers from the crowd when he said could tell Michelle Obama that “for the first time in eight years, I’m proud of my president.”

Many in the crowd held American flags or wore red, white and blue and held signs with messages like “Deplorables for Trump” and “Veterans before Refugees”.

Chelsea Thomas, an accountant from suburban Thornton, came with her husband and two children along with other members of her extended family and a life-size cardboard cutout of Trump. She stood next to the cutout, which the family has taken it with them on camping trips, boat rides and a country music festival, while holding a Trump banner on the hill at the bottom of the steps facing out toward busy Lincoln Street and a group of anti-Trump demonstrators corralled on the sidewalk by police.

Thomas and her family campaigned for Trump, but she wasn’t able to attend one of his campaign rallies. She works at a school among teachers who mostly oppose Trump so she feels she can’t express her support for him there.

“It’s nice to be surrounded by people who share your morals and opinions,” said Thomas, as her son walked back and forth across the grass with a large Trump flag.

Rather than listening to the speakers on the steps, a large clump of the Trump supporters turned for a time to face and sometimes taunt the anti-Trump protesters, many of them wearing all black and their faces mostly covered with scarves. Two lines of officers and an expanse of grass separated the two sides.

A man with a megaphone at the Trump rally started a chant of “Get a job” aimed at the counter demonstrators. They chanted “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA” and held signs with messages like “Your vote was a hate crime.”

At one point, the rally speaker asked demonstrators to turn away from the counter-demonstrators and not to taunt them, saying that would make things easier for police.

Many did. but a recording of a Trump speech continued to play through the megaphone pointed at the counter demonstrators.

Later some of the anti-Trump protesters briefly set a large American flag on fire. Some anti-Trump protesters who were dressed in regular clothes objected and an argument broke out.

“I love my country. That’s why I’m here,” Hannah Harris told them. Some told her she should ask Native Americans and people in Puerto Rico what they thought the flag stood for.

After Rachel Wood, a black-clad protester, stepped in to try to bring both sides together, some objected when Wood asked them to educate Harris, who is white, about what they meant.

Later, Wood explained that she wanted the protesters to see that Harris stood with them, even if they disagreed on tactics. “When we’re all together we need to stand together,” she said.


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