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Politics & Government

Milwaukeeans Take to the Streets in Opposition of GOP Candidates

Credit Michelle Maternowski
People waiting outside the Riverside Theater to attend CNN's GOP Town Hall Forum.

The three Republican candidates still in the running for the presidential nomination campaigned in Milwaukee on Tuesday. And each took a turn answering audience questions at the town hall style meeting CNN hosted at the Riverside Theater downtown.  As ticket holders filed into the venue, protesters made their voices heard.

Officers closed streets in downtown Milwaukee hours before the CNN event began, and the police presence was strong. They kept several hundred protesters nearly two blocks away from the venue, but that didn’t stop them from making a lot of noise.

“We’re coming out here today because we are standing up against hate. We will not tolerate it in the state of Wisconsin. No hate in Wisconsin,” Markasa Chambers said. She's with Coalition for Justice.

Wisconsin’s presidential primary is less than a week away, which is why the hopefuls are now crisscrossing the state. Chambers urged people to get out and vote. She says that while all three of the Republican candidates scare her, GOP front runner Donald Trump bothers her the most.

“This guy is seriously trying to get in office. It’s like a…I feel like it’s almost a joke, it’s like I’m living in a fairytale right now because I just can’t believe he’s even gotten this far. He shouldn’t have gotten this far so it’s more than necessary that people know that they need to get their voices out there because there are people who are going to be voting for him” Chambers said.

There were no Trump supporters at the protest, but he does seem to have a strong following. Some polls have shown the businessman leading the Republican pack in Wisconsin.

Credit Michelle Maternowski
Primitivo Torres with his son, Primitivo Torres Jr.

Primitivo Torres is with the group Voces De La Frontera – it seemed to have the biggest showing at Tuesday’s demonstrations. Torres said there is one big issue that drove him to protest and that same issue will drive him to the polls next Tuesday.

“I’m an immigrant. I came here as a nine year old, and when he says he’s going to deport 11 million people, he’s talking about my family. So I feel that at home and I see the hardworking family that I have that all they do is good in the society, they bring so much positive. They’re a fabric of our society. And to say that somebody’s going to deport you for no reason, even if you’re not a criminal, we’re totally against that,” Torres said.

Other issues that protesters mentioned as factors that are motivating them - mass incarceration, mental health needs and joblessness. By around 6:30 pm, the majority of the protesters were gone. Organizers said that with only about a day to pull things together, they were happy with turnout.

Credit Michelle Maternowski
Protesters gathered on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday.

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