Donald Trump to hold Dallas rally at Gilley's on Thursday night
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is getting ready to rally in Dallas. And those who disagree with his views are ready to protest.
The campaign event will be held at Gilley’s Dallas - South Side Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Doors are scheduled to open at 4 p.m.
However, Gilley’s was not Trump’s first choice of venue. His campaign was turned down by venues in Irving and Grand Prairie, citing a lack of time to prepare for such an event.
Organizers of Thursday’s anti-Trump protests expect thousands of people to participate.
“We're a country where diversity is our strength,” said LULAC President Domingo Garcia. “We talk about freedom of expression, of value, in one melting pot. That is not the message that Donald Trump brings, and that's why we're gonna rebut this bully on Thursday."
Various groups representing the LGBT community, Muslims, Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans are planning to peacefully rally outside Gilley's at 6 p.m. The protestors are being asked to wear white shirts to represent peace.
“We're working with the police department to advise us at exactly what point we need to move our people out so that we don’t give them any opportunity to clash. That is not our goal,” explained Hector Flores with LULAC.
“The idea is to have a peaceful protest so the nation can see when you come to Texas with bigoted and racism,” said civil rights activist Rev. Peter Johnson. “You are going to be protested, but the protest will be peaceful and nonviolent.”
Johnson said he had helped appoint about 50 protest "marshals.”
“Try to get people to understand that you don’t respond to hatred with hatred” he explained. “You don't respond to verbal abuse with verbal abuse. You don't respond to violence with violence.”
Dallas police officers on horseback and in riot gear trained Wednesday morning in a parking lot at Fair Park. The training session was prescheduled. Recruits from the police academy played the role of protestors as the mock protest got out of hand.
Another 250 officers were back for a second training session that included smoke to simulate tear gas.
“The mounted patrol specifically asked that that this is one of our training objectives today to allow the animals to experience that,” explained Department Chief Jeff Cotner.
FOX 4 obtained a letter the Dallas police chief sent to the department's officers telling them protests at events for Trump in other cities have been violent and to be prepared for Thursday's visit.
More than a dozen uniformed and plain clothes officers were at Gilley's Thursday afternoon as they worked out security details.
The Thursday night Trump event there will be ticketed, limiting crowd size to what Gilley's Southside Ballroom can hold.
This will be the third Trump event in North Texas of this campaign. Trump held a rally with 15,000 people in attendance at the American Airlines Center last September. He had another rally in March at the Fort Worth Convention Center, just days before the Texas primary.
Deputy Chief Cotner says his officers are training for trouble but also for peaceful demonstration.
"Our constitution allows for everyone to assemble, and the police officer's primary role is to protect that,” he explained. “To allow everyone to speak their position peacefully.”
The Trump campaign will also be having a private fundraiser on Thursday. The location of it has not been made public.
In fact, multiple sources tell FOX 4 that donors don't even know yet. They will be alerted a couple of hours before the event to ensure security and no protestors, according to the sources.