Nearly two hundred people marched around M&T Bank Stadium Saturday to protest the appearance of President-elect Donald Trump at the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore.
Demonstrators denounced the Republican's positions and rhetoric on immigration and minorities. Trump campaigned on promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the Southwest Border and bar Muslims from entering the country.
The marchers chanted "No Hate. No Fear. Immigrants are Welcome Here." and "We reject the president-elect." They wielded signs that read "Dump Trump," "Resist" and "Make Fascists Hide Again."
They said they wanted to remind people that many remain disappointed by Trump's election — and perhaps even to send a message to the Electoral College.
Trump cannot become president until the Electoral College casts its votes on Dec. 19. After a divisive campaign in which Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.7 million votes, some Electoral College members — mostly Democrats — have said they will vote for candidates other than Trump to deny him the 270 electoral votes he needs to assume office.
A group that calls itself the Mid-Atlantic General Defense Committee used social media to organize the protest after Trump announced Tuesday he was coming to town.
"We thought it was important to show there are people who oppose him and don't want him in our town," said law student Charlie Kerr, one of the organizers.
They realized it wasn't much time, Kerr said, but felt that if they did nothing, it would help "normalize" the president-elect.
Kun Sun Sweeley said he hoped to show Trump that cities like Baltimore would not support him.
The 30-year-old Waverly man said he hoped the president-elect would consider changing some of his positions.
"I am fully against Donald Trump and his racist and bigoted rhetoric," Sweeley said.
Reactions among spectators, tailgaters and passersby were mixed.
Some applauded and joined in the chants, or honked car horns in solidarity.
Others yelled "Go get a job" and "Make America Great Again" — a Trump campaign slogan. One man held up a Trump flag as protesters milled by.
The group gathered at McKeldin Square in the Inner Harbor at 11 a.m., then marched down busy Pratt Street to the stadium.
They walked around the perimeter as tailgaters looked on.
Sara Rudolph, a 28-year-old student from Baltimore who works for an environmental group, said she has many Muslim friends and is bothered by Trump's campaign rhetoric against minority groups.
"I hate that our country has become so closed and such a surveillance state," said Rudolph, 28. "I want our country to be inclusive again."
Mike Donnelly, 22, said the demonstration was a reminder to people who don't support Trump that they shouldn't spend the next four years sitting silently.
"It's a good way for people to come together and think about the future and what we should do next," said the Baltimore man, who just graduated from college and is applying now to law school.
Demonstrators returned to McKeldin Square and dispersed by 1:30 p.m. — about the time Trump left Trump Tower in New York.
Trump boarded a plane at La Guardia International Airport shortly before 2 p.m. with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's pick for national security advisor, former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, his choice for White House strategist, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Trump's visit is his first public appearance in Maryland since the election.
His last public visit came in September, when he spoke at the annual conference of the National Guard Association of the United States at the Baltimore Convention Center. A relatively small group protested that visit at the time.
As in past presidential election years, Maryland voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidate. Clinton received just over 60 percent of the state's vote, one of her strongest showings anywhere in the nation.
The 117th Army-Navy Game kicks off at 3 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium. The annual contest draws presidents and other senior officials.
President Barack Obama attended the game in 2011. President George W. Bush attended several times during his tenure.
Trump planned to sit on the Army side of the field for half the game and the Navy side for the other half — a presidential tradition.
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