(WBAY) – In what has become a regular sight at Donald Trump rallies, protesters carrying signs appeared outside the venues where the Republican Presidential candidate is speaking in Northeast Wisconsin.
Students, faculty and pro-immigration protesters made their voices heard outside St. Norbert College where Trump was holding a rally.
Signs include messages like “Build Bridges, Not Walls” and “No Hate No Racism No Trump.”
”We are against this, against hate, against people that are really mad at us and we don’t even know why,” says Gabriela Gamboa, a Latina joined by her countrymen in protest of the front runner for the GOP nomination in the race for U.S. President. ”It’s hurtful, it’s painful because he’s mean.”
They say they are standing up for immigrant families and feel there’s a better way to settle differences.
”My message to Donald Trump and his supporters is that we have nothing against you guys. We just want unity, to come together,” said Alma Torres, Green Bay. “I know we may have opposite thinkings or we may think different from each other, but at the end we are one nation and we should not be fighting against each other, we should be uniting.”
At UWGB, another group was meeting with a more narrow focus.
“Mr. Trump is the gravest threat the constitution we’ve had in decades and we’re rallying here together both against Mr. Trump’s message of hate and division, but also here in support of our constitution and of each other,” says protest organizer Nate Fiene.
“Bigotry and racism, that’s not what we are about as a country and it’s not what we are about as a state and a campus,” said Selena Deer, UW-Green Bay freshman. She also helped organize the UWGB protests.
“We wanted to show our solidarity with all of America, not necessarily Trump’s ideals of America, but to show that we are America,” she said.
Deer said the protesters come from all sides of the ideological spectrum, ”We have Republicans coming out, we have liberals coming out, coming together to stand against this hate and bigotry – it’s incredible to see.”
Fiene’s group is encouraging students to vote against the leading Republican candidate during the primary.
The protest itself was calm. Police tell us there was no conflict.
Local protesters say they do not agree with violence seen at other Trump events.
“I’m honestly disgusted at the violence that’s displayed at some of these rallies. People go there and they just hold up signs or they just state their mind and they get a tag for it, and I don’t agree with it at all,” said Breanna Brukardt, Green Bay.
UWGB Freshman Lauren Van Hoff said, “When I said that I was coming to this protest, my family, my friends, and my boyfriend were scared and said they didn’t want me to go because they were scared of the violence happens at these, but I think it’s important to come anyway because if we don’t show up we can’t make a difference. So we have to be brave and come and stand up for our rights and not be scared of other people and as long as we listen to the rules and stay where we’re supposed to be we should be able to stay safe.”
There was a separate protest in Appleton, where Trump held a rally at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.
Protesters began at Houdini Plaza, where for about 30 minutes they stood on the street corner holding up anti-Trump signs.
The group marched down College Avenue, staying on the opposite side of the street as people waiting to get into the Trump event.
The protest was peaceful, but protesters had harsh words for the candidate.
“I just want to show my disgust for Donald Trump’s racism,” said Fighting Bob, Oshkosh.
Nora Ptacek of Appleton said, “We don’t stand for hate in our community, and we think Donald Trump symbolizes hate based on what he said and he’s a racist. He’s a xenophobe and he’s spreading messages of bigotry.”
Trump supporters who did not get into the rally stayed outside. Appleton Police said there was some yelling between the supporters and protesters, but no incidents to report.