UPDATE: Sights and sounds from outside Donald Trump Rally

By  | 

Republican front-runner Donald Trump will be in South Bend for a rally Monday evening, but his supporters began lining up outside the Century Center before noon.

"All he wants to do is bring America back together," Kelly Kimble of South Bend said. "Get in a huddle and go again."

"The country is in bad shape right now," another protester said. "If we don't get someone new, I don't think it's going to change."

As the rally-goers slowly filtered into the Century Center once doors opened, we talked with one woman about why she's supporting Trump.

"Because he's gonna make America great again," she said. "He's going to build a wall, and he's going to take care of our vets, and he's gonna do a lot of stuff. I mean, everything he said I believe he's gonna do.

"I'm voting for Donald Trump," supporter Elizabeth Leach told us. "Because for the last 40 years, I've watched my country be given away by all the politicians, and he couldn't do any worse."

"Did you know in Nebraska, China is buying up our farmland? Do you know that?" she asked. "They are. They go to the auctions and they pay cash for millions of dollars' worth of farmland, and then they ship the crops back out of the United States."

As we have seen with other Trump rallies across the nation, there was a slight fear of violence. But the city was prepared for that, and there is a strong police presence, although some don't think it will be necessary.

"We welcome anybody who's here to express their free speech rights, even if we have vigorous disagreements," South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. "I expect the community to demonstrate our values of welcome and inclusion when it comes to responding to this campaign's arrival."

"I had people tell me to be careful because there might be trouble," Jenny DeDario, who attended the Trump rally said. "I don't think South Bend is a place with that kind of behavior."

"You're gonna have hate on each side. It's to be expected, especially with someone who speaks their mind, the way it should be. People are gonna be angry," explained Adam Reed, from La Porte County. "But if people aren't angry, you're not doing your job right."

"We're Hoosiers, we're a special set of Indiana people too. We're in South Bend, Indiana; we all get along relatively well. Maybe not on a constant basis," admitted Travis Kring, a Bernie Sanders supporter from South Bend. "You know, there's a little bit of separation in the city between people, but we all get along for the most part. So I don't think we're gonna have any escalation or violence at all."

Some expletive laced chants rained down related to Trump and the protesters did make their way across St. Joseph Street. Dozens of protesters, with signs in hand, walked along the people in line to go into the Century Center Monday night chanting negative things about Trump. However, it's something the protesters felt necessary.

"You might hear the 'F' Trump's and all that," Blu Casey, a local protester said. "But for my people, this is a different generation. We're not here to pray and silently march. We're going to be correctly blunt with it. What you see here is a big representation of what's going to happen if this man is elected."

Casey wasn't the only one.

"As a resident of Indiana, I feel it is my duty and privilege to be here to let people know what I feel and believe," Luis Lopez-Maldonado, a fellow protester said.

"Racism is real in this country," Jenna Knapp of Indianapolis said. "For a lot of us, it's something we'd like to avoid. So I'm here making a statement that I am aware of it and I won't stand for it."

While tempers flared momentarily, police were able to get the situation under control rather quickly, escorting protesters to the west side of St. Joseph Street.

"Just as long as there isn't any fist throwing or things being broken, we're going to be safe," Kimble said. "I think it will be alright."

"Ah... they're just making noise," Robert Debroka of Mishawaka said.

"Half the people here are cheering just because they want Bernie," Nick Hamill of Michigan City said. "Half of them want Trump. Then the other half thinks he's a Nazi. It's just insane."

"They were a lot friendlier than we were expecting," James Tague of La Porte said. "They were much more civil than what we were hoping for. Their voice is heard."

A strange moment happened soon after the rally, when Trump supporters flooded the street outside of Century Center. Among the negative Trump chants, a "USA" chant begun from the Trump supporters. Which the Trump protesters then joined in on. Something both sides seem to want is to "Make America Great Again," just as the Trump slogan supports; although they have differing opinions on how to get that done.

"We're Hoosiers," Travis Kring of South Bend said. "We're a special set of Indiana people too in South Bend, Ind. We all get along relatively well. Maybe not on a constant basis. There is a little bit of separation in the city between peoples but we all get along for the most part. So I don't think we're going to have any escalation or violence at all."

A number of entrepreneurs set up shop downtown, with booths offering Trump shirts, pins, and the popular "Make America Great Again" baseball cap.

One vendor we talked with says he's been to 63 cities since December and has put 40,000 miles on his van. But it's a cause he supports, and it's benefiting him financially.

"Some spots are really good. Some spots are not. It depends on the town, if they're liberal or conservative," vendor Don Kriner told us. "I've noticed that today here in South Bend, that it's more blue, more liberal than Evansville, Terre Haute, Fort Wayne. Just south of here is all conservative."