Supporters of President Donald Trump and anti-Trump protesters yelled and pushed each other in the cold rain Saturday during a pro-Trump march to the Capitol.
“I was trying to get all these people back to what we’re trying to do here instead of engaging these idiots,” electrician Alan Colwell, a Trump supporter, said.
At 1 p.m., about 100 people gathered on Wooldridge Park’s muddy grass to support Trump. Marchers shared a sense of patriotism singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Trump supporter Marvina Case told the crowd from the park’s gazebo about how Trump won a majority of white, female voters.
“If Trump hates women, why did he get over 50 percent of the white female vote?” Case said. “What we had in office for the last eight years set us back 50 years. We realized that hope and change, we didn’t get any of that.”
Meanwhile, anti-Trump protesters stood in black near the top of the park’s slope with 13 other protesters, looking down on the crowd of Trump supporters holding signs and American flags below.
Kit O’Connell, an activist from Austin leftist resistance group Oh Shit What Now?, said the Trump supporters did not phase him.
“We just wanted to let them know that even if there are not very many of us, Austin does not appreciate Donald Trump or his fascist regime,” O’Connell said.
Austin Police Department officers stepped in to mediate a momentary scuffle and one man slipped and fell on the muddy slope. Trump supporters yelled, “He’s y’all’s president” and called the protesters “commies.”
“The definition of fascism is exactly what (the protesters) are doing,” Colwell said.
The marchers left around 1:40 p.m. for the Capitol, while protesters ran alongside holding signs. One protester held a sign saying “Trump & Abbott: Partners in Terrorism.” Film editor Destiny Nyznik laughed at the sign and said the left are uneducated on Trump’s stances.
“We read his four or five books,” Nyznik said. “These people that are holding up these signs like Abbott and Trump are terrorists, are supporting terrorism or whatever it said, to me it’s like the guy’s not paying attention.”
The man holding the sign declined to comment.
Marchers swarmed the Capitol around 2 p.m., chanting “build the wall” and “U.S.A.” Kristoffer Celera, a manufacturer and member of the LGBT community, wore a shirt reading “LGBT for Trump.”
Celera said Trump supporters embraced him despite his sexuality.
“There’s a lot of diversity here,” Celera said. “I remember when I was down in the Houston rally for Trump, it was right after the Orlando massacre. I was wearing the same shirt and (supporters) said ‘Hey, the gays, they have the right to shoot back. We support you.’”
Colwell said he recognizes divisiveness and fervor runs throughout the country.
“Everybody’s passionate here,” Colwell said. “I mean there’s a lot of raw nerves and that’s one of the things that you know you always have to be aware of. Everybody’s on edge politically now.”