Duluth – Shelly Barton drove from Longville to protest President Donald Trump, saying that she was "running out of poster paint" with the amount of protests she has attended since he became president.
"It seems like it just gets worse," Barton said. "The EPA has been dismantled. The children … I'm tired of crying."
While thousands lined up for the Republican president's early evening rally in Duluth's Amsoil Arena, large numbers of protesters were also on hand. Around the same time that Trump was taking the stage, about 1,000 protesters in rows of five or six marched peacefully through the city perched on Lake Superior.
The protesters were there to denounce Trump and his policies. There was official opposition, too: a number of DFL elected officials and other party leaders showed up in the city, hitting back against Trump's efforts to push northeastern Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District — and, as Trump himself said, perhaps the whole state — into the Republican column.
"We need to mobilize to make the change," said U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis, now a candidate for state attorney general.
The marching protesters passed a parking garage where hundreds of Trump backers gathered after being unable to get into arena, which was full.
"We are one" and "Immigrants are welcome here," they chanted. Trump supporters replied: "Build that wall."
Despite some back and forth, the march was calm. No arrests or major clashes were reported.
Steven Bonkoski of Proctor said protests like this never change policy and hardly ever change minds.
"But it helps show that I'm not all alone," Bonkoski said. "And that we can still say that America is better than this. I've lived through a lot of administrations, but it's never been this bad."
Joel Kilgour, one of the protest organizers and a member of the local chapter of the Catholic nonprofit Loaves and Fishes, said the message he hoped to convey was one of unity — that segments of people should not be divided into something less than human.
"What's going on down at [the arena] doesn't represent Duluth values," he said.