AUSTIN, Texas - A busy weekend is expected in downtown Austin with former President Donald Trump making a stop here for his American Freedom Tour.
Democratic and abortion rights groups will also be having rallies.
Along with an appearance from Trump at the American Freedom Tour event, there will be other speakers including Donald Trump Jr. and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
According to the website, the cheapest and middle price points for tickets are sold out, but there are still other price points available.
Chris Widener, president of the American Freedom Tour, says he wants the event to be a place for conservatives to get together.
"We love Austin, we love Texas, we thought it would just be great, sometimes people say Austin's liberal, things like that, but there's still people who want to see these kinds of events, they love President Trump, and so we thought let's bring him to Austin," he said. "The whole idea is to create hope, to show people that they're not alone, a lot of times conservatives say, 'oh maybe we're bad people, racist, transphobic, all these kinds of things,' and I wanted them to get in a room and say you know, there's a lot of people like me. We're being branded as things that we're not, and people can feel discouraged, and I wanted to get them in a room where they can say you know what, we're not alone, there's other people that believe what we believe, and it's been very successful."
"How often do we get a former Republican president in Austin, Texas? We're very excited about this. Of course, we have a large number of Donald Trump aficionados here in town and MAGA hat wearers, we got a surprising number of them in Austin, believe it or not, even though we're a very blue county, and even for those who aren't quite Trump fans, it's a great chance to listen to the message and see what really excited so many people that he became president and really glean from that and apply that to the 2022 election cycle," Andy Hogue, communications director for the Travis County Republican Party, said.
The Travis County Democratic Party will be holding voter registration at the AFL-CIO building in response to this. Then they're going to march to the State Capitol and join abortion rights groups for a rally.
"The Trump administration has been the most egregious in attacking voting rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, abortion rights, you name it. We are not going to let Donald Trump come to Austin, Texas, where Joe Biden receives 71% of the vote without us taking action. Our action is going to be trying to make voting as accessible as possible rather than really getting into a fight with a bunch of hateful bullies," Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, said. "For folks attending the Trump rally, Donald Trump is not who you think he is. It's okay to not be a part of a hate group anymore. That's the cult that he has created, and he has taken the Republican Party with him. There is an opportunity to have your own mind and your own voice and to really take charge of your own fate in terms of listening to both sides of an issue. The attack on abortion rights in this country, especially in the state of Texas, is going to cost lives. Women are going to die. And I don't think you want that to happen. But Donald Trump and his policies and his appointments to the Supreme Court are literally killing people and are going to kill people. If you are a patriot, a true patriot of the United States and Texas, then you should be joining us. We are standing up for your right to vote to not just Democrats. We are standing up for everyone's right to vote. Every woman's right to have an abortion. Every woman's right to have contraception."
Another abortion rights group will march to the Convention Center.
When asked about other protests, Widener says, "Have at it. We're the American freedom tour. That's what America's about. It's about the exchange of ideas, it's about the free flow of information, we have freedom to protest, all those things. Keep it safe, keep it friendly, those kinds of things. We are all for everybody to be in the marketplace of ideas, so they can get out there, you make your case, we'll make our case, and we let the people decide, so I wish them well."
The Austin Police Department is asking people to avoid the downtown area from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday because of heavy traffic and road closures.
They also released the following statement:
"APD will continue to work with event organizers to ensure citizens have to right to assemble safely."
CapMetro says there will be detours for MetroBus route 17 because Cesar Chavez between I-35 and Brazos will be closed.
If MetroRail service isn't running at the Downtown Station, there will be bus service between the Downtown Station and Plaza Saltillo station.
Widener says he doesn't have an attendance number at this point but expects the Convention Center to be "pretty full."