Long Island Trump protesters run counter to stereotype

Peaceful protesters chanted, “Dump the Trump,” “Donald Trump has got to go,” and “get your hate out of my state,” outside the Trump rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York.

 Roughly 100 protesters gathered in the designated ‘free speech’ area on South Oyster Bay Road which was blocked off to drivers.

‘Stop the Racism’

People held signs reading “Stop the Racism” and “Love Trumps Hate” while chanting repeatedly about their distastes while Trump supporters walked passed towards the entrance of the rally. Although Trump was set to speak at seven P.M., protesters started gathering hours beforehand.

Within the free speech area, the protesters welcomed others like old friends by shaking hands and passing out free signs. Nevertheless, they remained focused on their reason for joining the protest.

Protester Anthony Zankus said, “I am appalled that a racist like Trump could hold a rally in a diverse place like Long Island.”

‘Love Trumps Hate’

Amongst the anti-Trump protesters were members from numerous advocacy organizations, including Planned Parenthood, The Long Island Immigrants Alliance, and the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

The Long Island Progressive Coalition’s goal is to inform voters and get them more involved in politics. The Organizing Director, Dan Fingas was handing out signs that read  “Love Trumps Hate,” “Stand Against Racism,” and “Stand against Islamophobia.”

Protesters hold signs to show frustration outside the Donald Trump Rally in Bethpage, Long Island on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016.

Planned Parenthood protesters

There were also several members from Planned Parenthood in attendance who were holding up pink signs and shouting for women’s rights. Planned Parenthood members started protesting around 5 P.M. and their efforts to advocate for women’s rights did not go unnoticed. Some protesters approached Planned Parenthood members saying, “A woman has the right to choose what happens to her own body,” to which they responded, “That’s why we are here.”

Police presence

The Nassau County Police Department had a strong presence around the free speech area. Around 15 to 20 officers patrolled the barricades and kept anyone who wasn’t protesting out. Officers directed traffic, made sure no one loitered, and limited interaction between the protesters and Trump supporters.

“We are just trying to keep a strong presence and make sure things stay calm,” said Nassau County Police Officer Kaiser.

The peaceful protest was extremely different compared to confrontations outside recent Trump rallies in Chicago, IL, where the rally had to be postponed after a violent outbreak formed outside and in Albany, NY, where a fight that broke out in the recent rally in Albany after a man lunged at an anti-Trump protester.

Danielle Moskowitz, Kate Ricciardi, Brionna Rivers
Additional pictures and picture editing: Andrew Garcia and Justin Grant