Trump protest: Small group of former president's supporters, foes face off ahead of court appearance

Former President Donald Trump is to be arraigned Tuesday on federal charges.

ByBill Hutchinson ABCNews logo
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Extra security ahead of Trump arraignment as protesters gather
The nation's largest city bolstered security and warned potential agitators that it is "not a playground for your misplaced anger." Janice Yu reports.

NEW YORK -- Supporters and foes of former President Donald Trump are gathering in a park in lower Manhattan near the courthouse where Trump is expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon on criminal charges.

With hours to go before the 76-year-old Trump is expected to appear in New York Criminal Court, a small but vocal group of demonstrators from both ends of the Trump spectrum started filing into Collect Pond Park.

Backers of the nation's 45th president held signs reading "Trump or Death," while adversaries countered with signs saying "Lock him up" and "IndicAted" -- a reference to how Trump misspelled indicted in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

ABC News reporters witnessed several small verbal skirmishes between the two factions, but nothing requiring police intervention.

Protesters argue at the Collect Pond Park across the street from the Manhattan District Attorney's office in New York on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.
AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the firebrand Georgia Republican and staunch Trump supporter, arrived at the park midmorning for a pro-Trump rally. Rep. George Santos, the controversial freshman Republican from Long Island, was spotted by ABC News crews at Collect Pond Park.

The park was split in half by police, with Trump supporters on the south side and counter-protesters on the north. The two camps began yelling at each other across the barricades.

By 11 a.m., there were between 50 to 60 Trump supporters, some wearing MAGA hats, and about 30 Trump protesters gathered in the park.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., at a protest held in Collect Pond Park across the street from the Manhattan District Attorney's office in New York on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.
AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, issued a warning on Monday to Greene and any "rabble-rouser" looking to cause trouble, saying, "New York City is our home, not a playground for your misplaced anger."

"As always, we will not allow violence or vandalism of any kind," Adams said. "And if one is caught participating in any act of violence, they will be arrested and held accountable no matter who you are."

Adams specifically called out Greene.

"Though we have no specific threats, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is known to spread misinformation and hate speech, she's stated she's coming to town. While you're in town, be on your best behavior," Adams said.

A protester holds a placard outside Trump Tower in New York on Monday, April 3, 2023.
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

During Tuesday's pro-Trump rally in lower Manhattan, hosted by the New York Young Republican Club, Greene fired back at Adams, saying, "While you allow crime in your streets, and you sent your henchmen down here ... Democrats are the party of violence."

Speaking through a megaphone, Greene told Trump supporters, "I am here to protest and use my voice and take a stand."

"Every American should take a stand.," Greene said. "This is what happens to communists' countries. Not the United States of America. We have to take a stand against the injustice, the corruption and the communist Democrats."

At one point, members of the New York Young Republicans Club began chanting "USA! USA!"

New York Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said a large police presence is stationed outside the lower Manhattan courthouse and at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan to keep the peace.

"As always, the NYPD is prepared to ensure that everyone is able to have their voices heard peacefully while exercising their first amendment rights," Sewell said.

Supporters of Former President Donald Trump parade their signs in front of assembled media and onlookers outside Manhattan Criminal Court, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in New York.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Sewell said streets around the courthouse will be blocked off.

Trump is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. During the arraignment, the state grand jury indictment against him is expected to be unsealed and the charges against Trump will be unveiled.

The indictment was announced last Thursday after a monthslong examination by a Manhattan grand jury.

Trump, who is currently the leading Republican candidate for president in the 2024 race, has described the indictment as a "political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history."

Trump arrived at Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on Monday afternoon. He entered the building where he keeps a residence, waving to a small group of supporters gathered across the street. He was followed into Trump Tower by his wife, former first lady Melania Trump.

MORE: Trump indictment live updates: Charges for former president to be unveiled at arraignment

One of Trump's attorneys, Joe Tacopina, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the case against the former president is "a joke."

"And it won't survive a challenge of law in a courtroom," Tacopina told "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos.

ABC News' Lucien Bruggeman, Ricardo Montero and Lauren Peller contributed to this report.