Election 2016

Trump Rally in Wisconsin Attracts Thousands of Protesters, Supporters Turn Violent

Protesters occupied the Holiday Inn where Trump was scheduled to speak, sending a message to the GOP frontrunner: "Hate is not welcome in our state."

Photo Credit: YouTube

Donald Trump is campaigning in Wisconsin this week ahead of the April 5 primary. On Tuesday, he spoke at the Janesville Conference Center, and over 2,000 people RSVP'd to protest. The organizers also created a petition to get the event canceled to tell Janesville—home of House Speaker Paul Ryan—that its residents do not tolerate hate. Predictably, some Trump supporters at the event resorted to violence toward the protesters.

The event was hosted at the Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Conference Center. The petition to cancel the event explained that, "As a hotel chain that insists it doesn't tolerate racial discrimination in its own practices, Holiday Inn should not provide its facilities to the Trump campaign. Beyond his discriminatory views, his campaign events have become sites of violent attack where supporters push, shove, beat, and grab youth and people of color in the audience with Trump's encouragement."

Nearly 3,000 people signed the petition. Still, the Trump rally was met with support in the hundreds.

But that's all the location could hold.

After several hours, the event turned violent.

But not every rally attendee was a supporter—or a protester.

"I am on the fence with Trump or Cruz so that's why I am here," said Kyle Netzel, a student at Blackhawk Tech in Madison. 

"What I think is the biggest thing for me is that if he is able to bring back big corporations like manufacturing back to America that would be great. I'm in school for welding so that would be big. However, I do have family in the health-care field and Cruz has a [specific] plan to get rid of Obamacare. So if [Trump] is able to bring both of those then, yes, I will vote for him on April 5," Netzel told AlterNet.

Trump's potential application of his "sucessful business principles" around the country is Netzel's greatest motivator for voting for the GOP frontrunner.

"Trump is a businessman and I feel that he knows what he is doing by doing business with different companies. [Under a Trump administration] I think companies might start coming back. If you raise taxes like the Democrats, that cuts into companies' profits so they can't hire as many people," Netzel said. "I will support whoever gets the [Republican] nomination, [though] I believe that it's just not Kasich's time yet."

But Kyle Netzel wasn’t able to see Trump speak. "The room that he was speaking in only held 1,000 people and there were plenty of other people that did not get in either,” Netzel explained.

During his speech, Trump claimed the unemployment rate in Wisconsin was at 20% due to loss of manufacturing jobs. He also blasted Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who endorsed Ted Cruz earlier today. Cruz currently leads in the state in nearly every poll. But Trump is optimistic. "There are over 5,000 people outside who can't get in; I feel badly. Does anyone want to give up their place?" Trump asked the crowd. "No!" cheered his supporters.

Watch: Trump's rally in Janesville Wisconsin

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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