HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - As President Donald Trump spoke across the street at the Propst Arena at the Von Braun Center, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Big Spring Park to protest his arrival and policies.
The President said he wants to "Make America Great Again," but some of the protestors say it would be better without him.
"Hey hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!" they chanted, first near the gazebo but then later while marching across the red bridge and around the water at the park.
"Our president does not represent American values. I believe we deserve better," said Katie Smith, who held a sign that read, "Make America Anti-Trump."
"No more hate! No more hate!" the group yelled as they marched across the bridge.
Tori McGill said she came out to protest because she loves her country.
"We deserve equality for everyone and actually paying attention to the climate, caring about our environment. Caring about our people for crying out loud," McGill said. "We're not all hippies. We are good people. There isn't much divide between us all if we can just talk."
— Kristen Conner (@KConnerTweets) September 22, 2017
Organizers said they expected 125-150 people to attend. Our news partners at AL.com and the Huntsville Times report even more showed up.
I've personally counted at least 300 protesters. Here's small fraction. They're now marching around Big Spring Park. pic.twitter.com/eWdZPLSfkR
— Anna Claire Vollers (@acvollers) September 22, 2017
"I am happy with the response. You know, we are in Alabama and I think it takes a lot of bravery for these people to come out," said Ava Caldwell, who secured the permit for the protest. "We are not in the majority compared to many of those we work with. But we deserve to be heard."
She said she was proud to exercise her First Amendment right.
Smith said it did not matter to her if the President noticed the group. But she hopes his supporters did.
"The people who voted for him-- I hope that our being here will make them reconsider that decision," she explained.
There were a few brief confrontations that never rose to violence. Early on, WHNT captured police escorting some Trump supporters from the protest area before the confrontation between the two groups got out of hand. There were other interactions that were cordial.
At times, the demonstrators had an attitude too.
"Can't build the wall, hands are too small!" the group shouted in jest.
"Even though he has called names and been disrespectful about everyone he doesn't agree with, he pretty much represents all of us and we would love if he would stop embarrassing us," said Caldwell. "The president's policies are negative and hurtful and his rhetoric isn't good for the country so we are going to stand up!"