MINNEAPOLIS — About three dozen protesters demonstrated outside of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's office on Wednesday, Oct. 9, following what they felt was an inappropriate response to news that President Donald Trump would rally in Minneapolis on Thursday.
Trump supporters who organized the protest said they were frustrated by city policy changes ahead of the rally, including a rule barring off-duty police officers from wearing their uniforms to the event. And they lashed back at Frey's efforts to have Trump's campaign pay $530,000 upfront for security and other costs to the city, saying the move was an effort to get the rally canceled.
Frey has said the policy changes around the president's rally weren't political and that he estimated the prices based on the cost of hosting the 2018 Super Bowl and Final Four. The mayor wasn't at his office during the protest Wednesday as he was observing the Jewish high holiday Yom Kippur.
Mary Susan Timion of Chanhassen helped organize the protest and said she was frustrated that off-duty police officers at the rally wouldn't be allowed to wear their uniforms, per a new Minneapolis Police Department policy. The department implemented the policy to prevent the appearance of political bias.
"We believe it's discrimination against our president and I think it's just a bad idea, in general, to tell people of authority that they can't dress in their uniform," Timion said. "Just the symbol of the uniform makes people feel safe and we've taken it real personally because we feel like our mayor doesn't want to make us feel safe."
Other protesters, who wore Trump campaign hats and shirts, said they were upset that the mayor would comment about not wanting the president in Minneapolis. They chanted "we support police, Frey do you?"
Marilyn Garber, of Minneapolis, also walked to the mayor's office on Wednesday, but she held up a sign that read, "Trump not above the law," and had the mayor's name with hearts on the backside. She said she felt it was important to voice her support for Frey amid the protest.
"I just felt like our city is dirty now. I can't stand that Pence and Trump and all their entourage are here and I just want it to stop peacefully," Garber said. "I feel like we've devolved into two different species of people. I just don't get them."
The protest outside Frey's office was shortlived, around 10 minutes in all. And after hoisting their signs and sharing their message with reporters and television cameras, the protesters said they felt they'd made their point and they left.
Later Wednesday, Second Lady Karen Pence and Lara Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, were set to host a panel discussion in St. Paul in support of the president's reelection campaign. And on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence is set to make an appearance in Lakeville before appearing with Trump at the campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Several groups that oppose the president have planned protests around the Target Center ahead of the rally Thursday evening.