St. Paul, MN – On Saturday, March 4, nearly 100 protesters confronted a pro-Trump rally at Minnesota's state capitol in Saint Paul. The gathering, called for by the University of Minnesota chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), marched into the Trump rally, disrupted it with chants, air horns and whistles. Physical skirmishes resulted. The anti-Trump protest was organized under the slogan “Make Racists Afraid Again.”
Some of the pro-Trump supporters carried signs identifying them with the white supremacist ‘Alt-Right’ movement. The protesters effectively shut down the rally for the hour and a half that they were in the state capitol building. Observers noted that it was nearly impossible to hear the speeches from the stage.
The March 4 Trump rally ended approximately a half hour after the protesters left the building amongst heightened tensions between rally participants and the protesters. In addition to physical struggle for space between the two groups, several protesters were attacked by coordinated groups of men which put them in headlocks, held people in place to be beaten by their friends, and broke sound equipment and peoples' personal items. Protesters worked in unison to defend individuals from these attacks and continue the disruption. The protesters took the example of Chicago, where SDS and other groups shut down a Trump campaign rally in March of 2016.
By the end of the action at least five protesters were arrested. The are currently being charged with trumped-up second-degree riot charges for allegedly having smoke-producing items or fireworks at the protest.
At the end of the action, SDS organizers emphasized the importance of the action, with Matt Boynton stating, “The movement against Trump is only gaining steam, next time there will be three times or ten times as many of us, and even today we shut down a rally where literal neo-nazis and white supremacists were gathered alongside other right-wing elements, and, importantly, we stood together in self-defense; protecting ourselves from right-wing attacks and embracing a diversity of tactics as something appropriate and necessary moving forward.”
Protesters passed around a bucket to collect bail money for the arrested individuals.