CINCINNATI, Ohio (WDTN) – President Trump’s campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena was a packed house. Supporters were turned away as the building reached full capacity.
What happened outside the arena gave the hint of a tense election to come, which is still a year away.
A counter-protest of 100-200 people across the street from the arena escalated after two men exited their vehicle and got into a confrontation with members of the group. The incident happened at the corner of Pete Rose Way and Broadway.
Cincinnati police quickly responded, with a half-dozen officers. Two men were handcuffed and immediately walked west down the street.
Four witnesses – who were at the opposite corner and had a full view of the fight – said the men had ignored police when told to get back in their vehicle. They had exited their truck in got into a fight with counter-protesters.
Cincinnati bike police then lined down the middle of Pete Rose Way. On the other side of the road, Trump supporters who were turned away when the arena was at capacity, were shouting back at counter-protesters. Their numbers thinned quickly after the fight.
Counter-protesters also gathered on the concourse where Trump supporters were lining up to enter the arena. Police presence on the concourse was high throughout the day, but besides a few testy verbal exchanges, both parties ignored each other
Democrats held a counter-rally at the Freedom Center on The Banks, drawing a couple hundred. Ohio Rep. Caroline Ingram spoke first at the rally, followed by representatives of Planned Parenthood and speakers opposing Trump’s immigration policy.
One Cincinnati policeman said he had been doing traffic duty for a few hours. After the incident at the counter-protest, he walked to his cruiser and sat down. He dumped a handful of Tums antacid from a bottle into his hand and tossed them in his mouth.
When asked how he was feeling, he had a short answer.
“I feel like going home.”