Trump energizes supporters as protesters march through Downtown Richmond
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Thousands packed the Richmond Coliseum on Friday night to see presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, while at least one protester was arrested following demonstrations outside.
Just before 9 p.m., Trump took the stage and stuck to many of his familiar talking points, accusing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment and deflecting criticism by blaming the media and those hoping to keep him from taking office.
"I'll be back here often," he remarked, with the crowd inside erupting into cheers and applause. "You're going to be sick of me being here in Virginia so much."
During his remarks, the real estate mogul hit multiple topics, including recent action by Governor Terry McAuliffe where he restored voting rights to more than 200,000 Virginians who have completed their sentence on prior felony convictions.
"Hope the courts act quickly," Trump said. "That's not the way it's supposed to work."
Trump also discussed his plans to build a wall along the United States/Mexico border, saying it will be "strong," "powerful," and "beautiful, which resulted in loud applause from attendees, who had a register online for Friday's event.
"We're going to win so much," Trump said. "We're going to win at every single level."
In the hours before the event, several groups who oppose Trump's position on issues decided to voice their opinions through marches to the Coliseum, which Trump's campaign rented out.
Carrrying white roses and signs offering peace, a small peaceful protest navigated the streets of Downtown Richmond.
"We are here to stand up in unity for freedom," said event organizer Jena Hintze. "We do not agree with his racism, his bigotry. We're here to say we're not going to stand for it."
A second event that stepped off from Monroe Park also had a number of protesters marching down Broad Street toward the Coliseum, sounding off what they think of Trump's campaign rhetoric.
Inside the event, Trump spoke out about critics who have come out and said he is a racist, following comments he made about a judge and their Mexican heritage.
"I am the least racist person you have ever looked at," Trump remarked, which garnered applause from supporters inside the Coliseum.
As the event went on inside, Richmond Police, members of the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement worked to maintain security as pro- and anti-Trump groups made their voices heard outside the building.
In the days leading up to the rally, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said they were prepared for the event and a police presence was visible throughout the Coliseum and in the surrounding streets. RPD was joined by members of Virginia State Police and the U.S. Secret Service, among others, maintaining a safety and performing security checks inside the Richmond Coliseum.
In a tweet, a "difference of opinion among some gathered in Festival Park" led to five people being arrested for disorderly conduct. Later, police confirmed via Twitter that "only one person of the five detained was charged with disorderly conduct."
Long after Trump left the stage, promising supporters that he would be back in the Commonwealth soon, demonstrators continued their march through Downtown Richmond, trekking along Broad, Marshall, and a number of side streets in the heart of the city.
Richmond Police were monitoring the situation closely, with a number of officers on bicycles riding along side and behind protesters in an effort to keep them moving and out the way of traffic.
Portions of Broad Street were blocked Friday evening as demonstrators moved along the streets before eventually dispersing in Abner Clay park just before 11 p.m.
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