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Emotions boil over outside Trump rally in Council Bluffs

Posted at 10:28 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 19:11:58-04

For at least three hours, demonstrators holding signs directed at President Donald Trump stood along 23rd Avenue across from the Mid-America Center, where he was speaking at a rally for local Republicans. Just as the night was ending, emotions boiled over after an elderly protester was allegedly threatened and a daughter feared for her mother's safety.

A skirmish broke out after political beliefs clashed outside the venue on 23rd Avenue and Bass Pro Drive.

A nearby Pottawattamie County deputy broke up the disturbance. The man will not face charges by Evelyn Russel after he allegedly threatened her and other demonstrators.

"He grabbed my sign then he grabbed my walker," Evelyn Russel said. "He had it held up over his head like he was going to hit me with it."

Russell's daughter reacted by taking the man to the ground for her mother's safety.

"I proceeded to tackle him to bring him down from my mother and that's when he began to punch me," Sugar Russel said. "That's when I put my hands up and waited for people to get off."

Earlier in the day, around 100 other protesters stood through Tuesday's rain. They showed their signs, both positive and negative, to rally attendees driving by. One electrician from Missouri traveled to Council Bluffs.

"It's pretty tough, we've been called a lot of different names," Raymona Thomas said. "I'm surprised it hasn't gone any further. But, it's pretty nerve-wracking."

Another woman stood through the rain for two hours.

"I do believe there are a lot of people who are afraid to voice their opinion and stand up to Trump or family members," Donna Hiatt said. "I think that you're going to see that we're being heard in the midterm election."

NextGen Iowa, which organized the protest, called it a success due to the number of people who braved the rain. The group says it shows how passionate people are to vote next month.