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Here's What It Looked Like Outside Trump's Evansville Rally

Protesters in Evansville
Protesters outside the Trump Rally in Evansville.

Supporters and protesters of Donald Trump greeted the president at his rally in Evansville, Indiana, Thursday night.

Hundreds of Trump supporters were waiting in line outside the Ford Center in downtown Evansville by 10:30 a.m. That's when Tim Engelskirchen arrived to sell red and blue "Make America Great Again" hats.

By 3:30 p.m. the line wrapped around the event center.

“Oh my God, it’s forever, I’d say it’s at least a mile long right now wouldn’t you think?” Engelskirchen said.

Barb Menke gave out cookies to people waiting in line.

“I have some Trump cookies. They’re red white and blue, I'm just passing them out to people, being nice,” she said.

For Menke, it’s the first political rally she’s been to since she saw Robert Kennedy.

“A couple of things that are really important to me: I strongly believe in the right to life and [Trump] supports that," Menke said. "I lost two classmates in the Vietnam War, so bashing our flag breaks my heart.”

About a mile away, a few hundred protesters gathered at Memorial Baptist Church. As the sun began to set they marched toward the Ford Center chanting “love not hate makes America great.”

Protesters spoke against Trump policies and his rhetoric on issues of immigration, LGBTQ rights and race, among others. Mary Lynn Stoll is a volunteer with the Sierra Club who opposes the Trump administration’s new rules for coal-fired power plants. She says Indiana residents will feel the effects of the new policy.

“We feel the health impacts the most, so it’s literally our lives on the line, our ability to breathe, to know we can drink our water without it being polluted by coal ash ponds,” Stoll said.

After most of Trump’s supporters made into the rally, a contingent of protesters demonstrated near the entrance of the venue. Local police maintained a barrier between protesters and supporters during Trump’s speech.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.