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More reporters and police than protesters outside the court where Trump’s trial is being held

Guarded by police officers, small groups of the former president’s supporters and opponents protest on the first day of the Republican’s trial in New York

Juicio Trump
Trump supporters clash with a detractor of the former U.S. president outside the courthouse in New York on April 15.SARAH YENESEL (EFE)

Expectations were high. This Monday, the opening day of the first criminal trial against a former US president, it was anticipated that the streets around the courthouse would be filled with protestors for and against Donald Trump. But today there were more journalists than protesters around the Manhattan courthouse. As the former president sat at the defense table inside 100 Centre Street, in the park directly across the street, Collect Pond, reporters’ cameras and microphones outnumbered the banners. The media were looking for any Trump protesters who raised their voices, while security officers, part of an impressive deployment of police both in the courthouse and in the park and surrounding streets, were kicking out anyone they felt might cause trouble.

Collect Pond Park was divided in two with police fences: on one side there were anti-Trump protesters, who could be counted on one hand, and on the other, about 50 supporters of the former president waving banners with slogans such as “Trump 2024,” “Trump or Death” and “Law and Order.” Of the latter, some even wore identifiers of white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Front, groups that were present at the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Others wore hats or sweatshirts supporting the Republican: “Women for Trump,” “Jews for Trump” and “Gays for Trump.” One supporter was Paul Revere, whose clothing displayed the slogan “Latinos for Trump.” A Cuban American from New Jersey, he explained that he was at the court to let “President Trump know he has support in New York. The [Joe] Biden administration is destroying the country, allowing anyone to cross the border without knowing who is who. They could be rapists or criminals. The criminals who are coming in are giving worthy migrants — those who come to work and have a good life —a bad name. We have to close the border,” Revere said. He called Trump’s trial for allegedly paying a porn actress to ensure her silence about an extramarital affair “third world.” Revere asserted that “this [the trial] could have been done three years ago, but in this communist country, like in Cuba, they waited to do it days before the election.”

Supporters of former President Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s supporters display banners of support in front of the Manhattan courthouse on Monday.Stefan Jeremiah (AP)

In addition to the noise of the helicopter engines flying over the courthouse area, there was also the music from a van replete with pro-Trump banners that spent the entire morning circling the nearby streets. Every time it passed through the park it honked its horn, and the few Trump supporters present chanted, “Trump did nothing wrong!”

In the morning, the only anti-Trump protester in the area of the park where Trump supporters were gathered was Marc Leavitt. Standing atop one of the park benches, the New York lawyer spent the morning playing patriotic songs on his clarinet. He carried a banner hanging on it, referring to Trump as a “liar,” a “narcissist,” and a “coward.” “I came here to be seen,” Leavitt said, referring to the pro-Trump protesters. “No man or woman is above the law, least of all our former liar-in-chief. He deserves all the justice that comes to him. My hope is that, with the trial, more people’s eyes will be opened, that Trump supporters will realize that the rule of law is more important than any man, any liar,” he added.

After noon, there was a confrontation between protesters from both sides. A couple of female Trump detractors crossed into the Trump supporters’ area. The women were surrounded by Republican supporters and endured insults ranging from being called “traitors” to racist taunts. They were harassed until they were forced to leave the park.

There were also clashes among Trump supporters themselves. One episode ended in a Trump supporter, clad in an American flag jumpsuit, being ejected from the park by police. Later, a Trump supporter hurled racist insults at African American supporters and was kicked out of the park by the former president’s own supporters, who accused him of being a “Democratic plant.”

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