A couple hundred protesters gathered outside RiverCentre on Friday in downtown St. Paul to chant their opposition to former President Donald Trump, who was in town to headline a state Republican Party fundraiser.

Several different groups rallied on the sidewalk outside the convention center, including those supporting abortion rights and immigration rights, along with generally anti-Trump participants.

"I just think he's a despicable human being, even when he wasn't a politician," said Chuck Justice of Woodbury.

Across the street was a vocal crowd of about 50 pro-Trump counter protesters, who said they were thrilled by the former president's visit.

Doug Kern, a Brainerd resident waving a Trump 2024 flag, said Trump's election this fall would improve the country overall after what he sees as four painful years under President Joe Biden.

"When you see the stuff going on in the country, we're on a grease slide going down, and it has to stop," Kern said.

The two sides mostly stayed apart, aside from a couple of verbal altercations. The crowd of anti-Trump protesters were separated from the south side of the RiverCentre building by a metal fence and a large police presence.

Brad Sigal, a member of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, said there are many issues he has with Biden's handling of immigration. But he gave a prediction for what would happen should Trump win in the fall.

"What Trump is promising to do now would create a horror for millions of immigrants in this country and their families," he said.

Olivia Crull, a member of Minnesota Abortion Action Committee, said she views Trump and his anti-abortion stance as a "major threat to our country."

"We're here to say he's not welcome in the Twin Cities, and that we're here to defend the rights that Minnesotans want and deserve," Crull said.

Other speakers voiced support for the pro-Palestinian cause in the war in Gaza, and some of the anti-Trump speakers offered similar criticisms of Biden's presidency. At one point, both pro- and anti-Trump crowds joined in chants against Biden.

Some of Trump's supporters outside the fundraiser held signs that read "Let's go Brandon," a disguised vulgar insult directed at Biden, and "America runs on Trump."

Don Kolhoff, a pro-Trump resident of Princeton, Minn., said he likes everything about Trump better than Biden.

"He isn't as conservative as I would like, but he's going to bring jobs back, and bring prices down," Kolhoff said.

As a smaller pro-Trump group rallied near another RiverCentre entrance, some passing drivers yelled "Lock up Trump!" drawing a response of "Lock up Biden!"

A truck drove by with an electronic billboard that read "He should've kept his promise and never returned," a reference to Trump's 2020 declaration that he wouldn't return to Minnesota again if he lost the state.

Some of the anti-Trump attendees held signs poking fun at his ongoing trial in connection to an alleged hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Several women held signs, one of them showing Trump's head on a baby with the words, "Putin's patsy."