Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance Friday at downtown Fresno’s Selland Arena sparked a flurry of planning Wednesday at City Hall and by the Republican presidential candidate’s supporters and detractors.
Tickets for the event are available for free on Trump’s website. Tickets are limited to two per mobile phone number.
The event will begin at 10 a.m., but attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as they will need to pass through metal detectors and security checkpoints prior to entry. Doors open at 7 a.m.
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Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, will jet off to San Diego after his Fresno speech for a 2 p.m. appearance.
City spokesman Mark Standriff said M Street will be closed from Inyo to Ventura streets during the event. He recommended travelers avoid the O Street exit on Highway 41, as it will almost certainly be congested. Instead, people should take the Divisidero Street exit to the north or Van Ness Boulevard offramp to the south.
The Selland Arena main parking lot will be closed at M Street. Standriff said the spiral parking garage at Van Ness and Inyo, the convention center garage at Inyo and O and the parking lot at Tulare and R streets will be open. There also is a small parking lot at Inyo and Fulton Street.
Media satellite trucks will be parked on the south side of the Selland Arena parking lot. Standriff said five media outlets have requested space.
The plan Wednesday was to have 76 Fresno police officers staff the event: 36 inside and 40 outside.
At least two protests are planned.
Fresno People’s Media created a Facebook event titled “Let’s build a wall to keep Trump out of Fresno.” As of Wednesday afternoon, 54 people said they plan to go and 141 more were interested.
A handful of people made a much larger event on Facebook, called simply “Protest Donald Trump at the Fresno Convention Center.” About 225 people said they were going and 455 were interested.
Marilyn Deleija is organizing the larger event. She expects about 200 people to show. The group plans to stand on M Street in front of the convention center from 7 a.m. until the final attendees empty out of Selland.
“We want to include everyone – Democrat, Republican, whoever – that wants to take part,” she said. “We don’t want to condone any violence. We’ve called the Police Department to let them know we will be there and to ensure everyone will be safe.”
Deleija said it’s important for people to show up and let Trump know they don’t agree with his principles.
“I’m a young, Hispanic female,” she said. “He has nothing good to say about any of those groups. His rhetoric and ideals are not what I want to see for someone leading this country.”
On Tuesday night, protesters outside a Trump rally in Albuquerque, N.M., threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled trash cans and barricades.
Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd.
Things got testy again Wednesday when police in Anaheim faced off against demonstrators who were Trump supporters and opponents. Several demonstrators threw rocks at officers. Eight people were arrested.
Trump is the only Republican candidate officially left in the race but still has not secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Trump has 1,169 of the needed 1,237 delegates.
Washington held its Republican primary Tuesday, then California and four other states follow June 7. The June 7 states are all but certain to push Trump over the top.
Fresno businessman Michael Der Manouel Jr. said Wednesday that he plans to attend Trump’s speech. He will be one of Trump’s delegates to the Republican National Convention from July 18 to 21 in Cleveland.
I want to thank them in advance for their violent behavior, if there is any, because they’re only helping Trump.
Fresno GOP delegate Michael Der Manouel Jr. on protesters
Der Manouel expects the candidate to address two key central San Joaquin Valley issues during his Fresno appearance: agriculture and water.
“Our area produces such a vast amount of the nation’s nourishment,” Der Manouel said. “There’s such a crisis of political leadership on the water issue, and I expect him to address it and make some commitments.”
Because Trump is running against the “failures of both political parties,” Der Manouel said, it would only be natural for him to pledge to solve a problem the Valley has had for 30 years.
He said he believes Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP heap is “a validation of what people think about the federal government.”
Der Manouel also made a point to thank any potential protesters.
“That’s their legal right,” he said, “but I want to thank them in advance for their violent behavior, if there is any, because they’re only helping Trump.”
Der Manouel hopes the event remains peaceful, but said any violence would “show America the underbelly of our society.”