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No Arrests As President Trump Visits Reno

Randol White / Capital Public Radio

Protestors gather outside of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center before President's Trumps address to the American Legion’s national convention.

Randol White / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE 6 p.m.: President Donald Trump's appearance in Reno Wednesday was met by hundreds of protestors outside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

The tone of the Reno protest was orderly and civil compared to the scene in Phoenix Tuesday night.

On one side of South Virginia Street in Reno, people protesting Trump's presence held anti-Nazi and pro-immigrant signs. Just across the street, a smaller, but just as vocal crowd, was chanting as well. Supporters were holding Trump/Pence campaign signs and waving American flags. There were no confederate flags to be seen.

There was vocal disagreement over black versus all lives but in most cases the conversations were civil.

Closer to the entrance of the convention center, the bulk of the anti-Trump crowd gathered, including Catherine Linesch, a Unitarian-Universalist minister from Reno. She says she was comfortable coming to the protest today because this is how her city handles contentious issues.

"We'll banter and we'll talk about things, but sometimes we are actually able to learn from each other and grow from that discussion, across, when it is tense," says Linesch. "We try to find common ground when we can, at least that's the ideal."

The Reno Police Department was working to keep the pro-and-anti-Trump sides separated. Jon Douglas, 32, says he served in the military and is a Trump supporter. He was hoping the two camps could engage with each other more, but says he understands the safety measures to keep them apart.

"That's all of our fault, I guess, if we're just going to be violent on it," says Douglas. "Like, I'm not going to point one side or another. We all need to be able to just listen, stop and listen."

Reno's Police Chief Jason Soto says there were no arrests nor violence during the protests.

UPDATE 5:26 p.m.: After a fiery speech last night in Arizona, President Trump was more reserved and seem to stick to the script during a speech to the American Legion's annual convention in Reno this morning.

There also wasn't as much unrest and civil disobedience outside the event.

Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler was there and ran into two people who had little in common except for their decision to be there.

Ben stopped to talk to 62-year-old Reno truck driver Kevin Coffey and 58-year-old Cathy Blane from Reno, who works as a laser tech for a group of doctors.

UPDATE 4:26 p.m.: President Trump's speech to the American Legion's national convention in Reno Wednesday generally drew praise from folks in the crowd.

Trump said it's "time to heal the wounds that have divided us" and signed legislation to make it easier for veterans to appeal claims for disability benefits from the VA.

Daniel Crow came to the convention from Camarillo in Ventura County. He's a registered Democrat, a retired heavy equipment operator for county's fire department, and says Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate he's ever voted for.

"Really, an eloquent speaker," Crow says. "And I agree with what he said, with the changes he’s trying to make with the VA, and to make America great again."

Dawn Gramza of Michigan is a registered nurse who also attended the Legion convention and watched the president speak. As a Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton last year, she calls Trump "too radical."

"His tweeting drives me crazy. It's just like it's -- it's too much!" Gramza says.

But Gramza still praised the president for his speech Wednesday, and for his actions to help veterans.

UPDATE 3:44 p.m.: Reno police prepared for violent crowds before President Trump addressed the American Legion national convention Wednesday in Reno, but that proved unnecessary.

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto says there were no arrests and no violence when Trump supporters and opponents came together outside the Reno Convention Center. He credits weeks of advance planning and learning from police in other cities, especially Tuesday night in Phoenix.

"They utilized a lot of their force, a lot of their members," Soto says of the response. "At one point today, you saw us send out some more troops – just to have an overabundance of presence out there, and it was successful."

Soto also credits barricades and road closures for keeping vehicles out of the free speech zone.

The extra staffing will bring an added cost to city taxpayers, but Soto says he won't know how much until next week.

UPDATE 1:36 p.m.: CapRadio's Ben Adler and Randol White were in Reno to cover Trump's speech.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.: Pres. Donald Trump is expected to speak in Reno Wednesday morning at  11 a.m. The White House has released the following excerpts from Trump's prepared remarks:

"But we are also here for another reason. We are here to hold you up as an example of the strength, courage and love that our country will need to overcome every challenge that we face. We are here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation."

"If American Patriots could secure our Independence, carve out a home in the wilderness, and free millions from oppression around the world, that same sense of patriotism, courage, and love can help us create a better future for our people today."

"It is time to heal the wounds that have divided us, and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us.  We are one people, with one home, and one flag."

Original Post: President Trump addresses the American Legion’s national convention in Reno Wednesday morning, and police are preparing for both his visit and a protest outside.

The president is scheduled to speak at the Reno Convention Center at 11 a.m.

A Facebook post shows a coalition of progressive groups planning a “Nevada Rejects Hate” rally outside the convention center.

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto isn’t sure how many protesters to expect – “anywhere from several hundred to several thousand.”

But unlike late-developing protests like the one in Charlottesville that turned violent earlier this month, Soto says he’s had a couple of weeks to plan ahead. He’s lined up help from nearby police and sheriff's departments as well as the Secret Service.

“It’s always a little bit better to be over-prepared,“ the chief told Capital Public Radio Tuesday. “And fortunately for us, this was a visit that we had some time to plan for, so that we could appropriately address our staffing issues.”

The president’s speech is only open to convention-goers, but Reno police are setting up a space outside for groups that support the president and oppose him.

“There’s going to be a lot of personnel, and a lot of areas that you simply won’t have access to,“ Soto says. “But there will be common areas where people can certainly move about, and get their message across.”

The roads surrounding the convention center will be closed, which should prevent anyone from driving a car through the crowd. But there won’t be a physical barrier between Trump's supporters and opponents, so it'll be up to the crowds – and police – to keep the peace.

Road closures include the streets surrounding the convention center – most prominently, South Virginia Street from Peckham Lane to South McCarran Boulevard. Police are urging all those not attending the convention or protesting to avoid the area between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

POTUS Travel Restriction

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

Randol White

All Things Considered Anchor/Reporter

Randol White is an award-winning, accomplished, and well-rounded broadcast journalist with more than two decades of radio, television, web and print experience.  Read Full Bio 

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