Protesters march from south side to downtown Milwaukee ahead of GOP town hall

MILWAUKEE -- Demonstrators protested outside of the CNN GOP town hall event in downtown Milwaukee on Tuesday evening, March 29th. A large group of protesters made its way from the city's south side to the Riverside Theater prior to the event.

Protesters assembled at the Voces de la Frontera office -- and marched to Wisconsin and Plankinton.

"It's awesome that there's so many people, you know?" Sam Singleton with Voces de la Frontera said.

Demonstrators said they would "drown out the hate" -- specifically the messages of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, calling these candidates anti-immigrant.


"This country was founded on immigrants and we're here together to say 'we don't want Trump in office,'" Michelle Hernandez said.

Hernandez and her husband David marched together -- carrying flags from their home countries, standing against what they called an "anti-immigration" message being spread by Trump.

"We don't want him trying to separate families and building some big crazy wall," Hernandez said.

The protesters said they would stay peaceful, but that their message would be heard -- that the GOP presidential candidates are spreading a message of hate.

"We're going to take over the streets.  Hopefully they will know we are here for our message and we're not going to promote violence.  The police are on our side today," Nury Plascenca said.

Some of the protesters who demonstrated in Milwaukee on Tuesday evening also took part in a protest outside the Donald Trump rally in Janesville Tuesday afternoon.

The CNN GOP town hall event in Milwaukee began at 7:00 p.m. and lasted until 10:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Voces de la Frontera officials released this statement about the protest:

On Tuesday, members of Voces de la Frontera Action joined thousands of people protesting the anti-immigrant racism and violence promoted by Donald Trump and other politicians outside of events in Janesville and Milwaukee where Trump was present.

Starting Tuesday at 11am, Voces de la Frontera Action members from Madison and Janesville joined a crowd of thousands protesting outside of Donald Trump's rally in Janesville. "Today people of all races and colors came together in Janesville," said Mario Ramirez, an organizer with Voces de la Frontera present at the rally. "We came here to stand up to bullies, to the people like the bikers who published online threats and Milwaukee's Sheriff Clarke and Trump himself, who has encouraged supporters to attack civil rights protesters. Because of our large numbers and preparation we felt very safe, although there were Trump supporters provoking conflict. But we maintained discipline. We came to deliver our message of unity, and to say no to hate, no to racial division."

Later that day in Milwaukee, hundreds of immigrants, Latinos, and allies marched at 5pm from Milwaukee's Latino South Side neighborhood to the debate site of a CNN Town Hall with the three Republican candidates to protest the hate speech coming from Trump, Ted Cruz, and all politicians building a career on promoting anti-worker and anti-immigrant politics. Voces de la Frontera Action member Nury Plascencia, a newly naturalized US Citizen who will vote for the first time in the April 5th local elections, made the connection between national and local politics:

"Growing up I have seen my family suffer because of the xenophobic and anti-immigrant laws created by politicians," said Nury. "And now we have to deal with Trump. Trump is calling for the deportation of 11 million people, people like my friends, family and neighbors. Not only is Trump calling for this but so is Ted Cruz. We will defeat them! I will be voting for the first time on April 5th and again in November to defend my community. I encourage everyone who is eligible to get registered and vote. I will be voting against politicians who attack workers and immigrants at the national and local level. Our local Trumps need to be voted out of office, and we need to elect officials like Justin Belinski for alderman and Chris Larson for county executive who represent the entire community. On April 5th vote or help mobilize the vote against hate!"

Julio Arellano, an undocumented Voces de la Frontera Action member, spoke to the threat that Trump poses to his family and community: “I arrived in this country hoping for a better life,” said Julio. “I've been married two years and, and my wife and I are expecting a baby in the next 20 days. My family’s future is threatened by the racist, fascist ideas of Donald Trump and his campaign of hate against members of ethnic minorities. Today I am marching for my daughter, for my people, for all people of color, so that tomorrow we don't have to hang our heads, our dignity injured by a racist society."

Markasa Chambers of the Coalition for Justice spoke about Black-Brown solidarity: "We stand in solidarity with our black and brown brothers and sisters and we thank our allies," said Markasa. "We're out here today because we're standing up against hate! No hate in Wisconsin! We have enough of our own problems here without Trump or anybody else coming to our state and stirring the pot. We have enough work here to do and we will not tolerate it! Make sure you go out and vote on Tuesday April 5th and make your voice heard! Sí se puede!"