Activists repeatedly interrupt Trump’s speech in Raleigh

'Trump's whistle is not a dog-whistle. It's just a whistle.'

Feb 29, 2020, 3:02 pm*

Tech

 

Kate Conger

It’s a scene that’s starting to become familiar at Donald Trump rallies—the Republican presidential candidate’s speech is interrupted by a protester, then his supporters react violently to the interruption. 

Trump was interrupted yet again at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., on Friday night. But, unlike previous rallies where he was interrupted by a single protester or a small group, a larger group of protesters strategically scattered throughout the rally interrupted him over and over again. 

The disruptions began five minutes into Trump’s speech and continued throughout the event, CNN reported. Some protesters chanted, “Black lives matter,” and one other protester carried a sign that read, “Stop the hate, we make America great.” Trump ended his speech earlier than usual and took questions from the audience. 

“We were prepared to disrupt him every five minutes for beyond the normal duration of his speeches,” said Todd Zimmer, an activist affiliated with Showing Up For Racial Justice who took part in the demonstration with his fiancée. Black Lives Matter and immigration advocates also took part in the disruptions, Zimmer said.

Zimmer filmed his disruption of Trump’s speech, which occurred as the candidate discussed Syrian refugees. “We don’t want these people coming to the United States,” Trump said. “And if I win, they’re going back. They’ve got to go back.” 

The crowd cheered, and then Zimmer began chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.”

The surrounding crowd booed and shoved him, which Zimmer likened to being in mosh pit at a concert. A police officer then escorted him and his fiancée, who he says was also struck by Trump supporters, from the venue.

Zimmer said he chose his chant because he wanted to call attention to the racism of Trump’s campaign. “Trump’s whistle is not a dog-whistle. It’s just a whistle,” he explained. “He’s bringing racism overtly and clearly into American rhetoric and we need to say it’s not acceptable.”

Another participant in the protest tweeted about his experience:

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told CNN that 25 protesters were removed from the event over the course of the evening. The venue held approximately 7,800 attendees.

“To my knowledge, we didn’t arrest anybody, we just escorted them out,” Harrison told CNN.

Trump has faced several interruptions at campaign events before. A Black Lives Matter activist was kicked and punched by Trump’s supporters at an Alabama rally last month, and an immigration activist was kicked and dragged at a Trump event in October. 

Trump initially seemed to support the altercations. In an interview on Fox & Friends, the candidate said that perhaps the Alabama protester “should have been roughed up.” 

But in Raleigh, Trump started with a different approach. As the first protester was escorted from the venue, he said, “Make sure that young lady is in beautiful shape.” But his frustration seemed to grow as the interruptions continued, and he called for security to get the protesters “out of here.” 

Several of the interruptions were captured on video.

“I’m actually really satisfied with how it went. It’s about time Trump got shut down,” Zimmer said. “I think if other folks are concerned about Trump’s popularity, this is a pretty good model for what to do when he’s in town.”

 Illustration by Tiffany Pai

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*First Published: Dec 5, 2015, 12:00 pm