Hundreds of critics of Donald Trump marched in protest Monday as the GOP front-runner rallied his troops at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Monday.
More than 1,000 people gathered for the demonstration organized by the North Texas chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. They marched from Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral in downtown Dallas to the American Airlines Center, where Trump was appeared to about 15,000 enthusiastic supporters.
Some marchers carried signs criticizing Trump and at least one carried a Trump piñata, according to The Associated Press.
There were no disturbances and no reports of arrests at what was promoted as a "Dump Trump" rally.
Trump, the front-runner in the GOP race and former reality TV star, drew massive attention when he announced the Dallas rally. And by Friday, all of the estimated 20,000 tickets for the free event were gone.
“This is the man everybody wants to see,” said Bill Miller, an Austin-based political consultant. “America today is a celebrity culture. You can see it in the magazines, you can see it on TV.
“He is a celebrity who has proven to be one of the more interesting and popular politicians in memory.”
The wealthy real estate mogul is the latest candidate to head to North Texas, hoping to draw Texans’ support now and votes when Republicans head to the polls for the presidential primary March 1, 2016.
His visit comes just days after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended his own bid for the White House.
Last week, Donald Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to draw more than 30 percent support in polls.
The other side
Before the rally began, Trump opponents gather outside the American Airlines Center for the “Dump The Trump” march and rally.
LULAC and various community groups were rallying “against hate-mongering and racism.”
“We plan to give Donald Trump and his supporters a hot Tejano welcome by speaking truth to billionaire power,” said Dallas attorney and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, D-Dallas, who helped organize the march and rally.
The last time Trump was in Texas was earlier this summer, when he toured the Texas-Mexico border and talked about illegal immigration.
Last week, he became the first Republican presidential candidate to draw more than 30 percent support in polls.
He recently signed a loyalty pledge saying he will support the GOP presidential nominee — no matter who it is — and won’t run as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win.
Trump’s North Texas rally comes just days before the crowded Republican presidential field faces off in a new debate, this one hosted by CNN, Wednesday night.
He plans to hold a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Thursday.
Voters are likely to turn out there in large numbers as well.
“You can line people up and 10 out of 10 will say they want to see what he is going to say,” Miller said. “He has really taken the political public’s attention by storm.”