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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Big crowd, security, protesters welcome Donald Trump to Fort Wayne

An estimated 7,000 people turned out Sunday to hear Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Sunday. (By The Associated Press)
An estimated 7,000 people turned out Sunday to hear Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Sunday. (By The Associated Press)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Sunday. (By The Associated Press)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Sunday. (By The Associated Press)
Massive lines file outside of the main entrance to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Sunday prior to the rally for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
Massive lines file outside of the main entrance to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Sunday prior to the rally for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
A massive police presence was evident all around Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for Sunday's rally for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
A massive police presence was evident all around Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for Sunday's rally for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
Donald Trump signs dominate the property in front of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum along Coliseum Boulevard as Fort Wayne Police Department officers stand on the perimeter prior to Sunday's rally. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
Donald Trump signs dominate the property in front of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum along Coliseum Boulevard as Fort Wayne Police Department officers stand on the perimeter prior to Sunday's rally. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
Protesters against Donald Trump line Parnell Avenue during Sunday's rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for the Republican presidential candidate. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
Protesters against Donald Trump line Parnell Avenue during Sunday's rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for the Republican presidential candidate. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
A protester against Donald Trump holds up a sign Sunday outside of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
A protester against Donald Trump holds up a sign Sunday outside of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
A protester against Donald Trump holds up a sign Sunday outside of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
A protester against Donald Trump holds up a sign Sunday outside of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. (By Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Sunday, May 01, 2016 06:20 pm
It was a scene straight out of a political thriller.  A massive security presence. 

Huge amounts of supporters. 

A vocal minority of protesters. 

Just another day in the campaign of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. 

The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and its environs were the site Sunday of a Trump rally, with an estimated 7,000 people crowding into the main arena to hear the presidential candidate speak. 

In his typical no-bull style, Trump engaged the boisterous crowd with criticisms of fellow GOP candidate Ted Cruz, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and a host of others. 

"We have to make our country rich again," said Trump to cheers. "Then great again, then greater than ever before. 

"I tell you it will happen."

Trump also lobbed shots at Carrier and its plan to take 1,400 Indiana jobs to Mexico. 

After someone in attendance yelled, "Build a wall" referring to the country's southern border as Trump spoke, the businessman responded, "Oh, I'll build a wall. Don't you worry about it."

Supporters streamed into the arena as soon as the doors opened at 12:30 p.m. Metal detectors were placed directly at the main entrance, with other security protocols noticeably visible. Police tape ringed the facility on Coliseum Boulevard and Parnell Avenue, with Fort Wayne Police Department and Allen County Sheriff officers standing guard at various entries as well as lined up parallel to the street in some places. 

A contingent of protesters numbering around 100 people made their presence known on Parnell Street, waving signs and flags showing their displeasure of Trump and his rhetoric. 

Oswaldo Parapi and his father took turns waving the flag of Ecuador, the home country of both of Parapi's parents. 

"(Trump) is an ignorant man," said the 17-year-old Parapi who was born in Fort Wayne. "It is actually pretty funny hearing him speak. He says some dumb stuff."

The protest was largely peaceful, with passersby honking their horns and yelling for and against Trump. Several Allen County Sheriff officers were stationed nearby to make sure the situation did not deteriorate. 

"You have people (out here) with a lot of emotion," said Nan Nesbitt, a 1966 graduate of North Side High School who protested on Sunday. "Many (immigrants) worked hard to get here and to be belittled by somebody who never really was one-on-one with them or their kind...that's heartbreaking to them."

Despite the protests, thousands of Trump fans battled long lines to hear him speak. While some did not want to go on record as to why they supported the businessman, others were eager to make their opinions known. 

"All of the establishment is coming out against him," said Ohioan JB Schaffner. "When you get someone like Trump who begins to say things (against the establishment), who says things that people are feeling, we start taking notice and listening."

Trump looks to be in good shape heading into Tuesday's primary. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey released Sunday has Trump with a 15-point advantage over chief competitor Ted Cruz. Cruz will make a second appearance in Fort Wayne on Monday at 2 p.m. at the Grand Wayne Center. 

Trump is set to make a pair of Indiana appearances on Monday at The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel at 4 p.m. and at the Century Center in South Bend at 7 p.m.

       

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