8 protesters arrested at President Trump rally

Posted at 10:38 PM, Mar 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-25 23:51:37-04

Eight President Donald Trump protesters were arrested outside of a President Trump rally in front of Omaha’s city hall Saturday, reports the Omaha Police Department. 

They were booked in the Douglas County jail on various charges including disorderly conduct, obstructing and an illegal firework charge.

There was red smoke in the area that police say was deployed by a Trump protester. 

No one was taken to the hospital, police said. 

The Make America Great Again rally, of about 200 people, downtown was almost interrupted by masked protesters.

Police fired pepper balls into the group of protestors.

Things were peaceful until the President Trump protesters, wearing ski masks, and waving communist flags, approached the rally. 

Police stepped between the rally and protest, eventually dispersing the protesters with pepper balls. 

"Sigh, it was pretty scary," said Mason Haliburton, 8, Omaha.

Haliburton was among about 200 President Trump supporters at the rally when a couple dozen people dressed in all black, wearing ski masks, and donning communist flags, arrived.

Police quickly responded. 

"It was surprising to me that there weren't more with as many that were saying they were going to be here," said Christopher Craft, Omaha. 

A Trump protestor says their group wasn’t part of the masked protestors, who she identifies as Black Bloc.

"The organizer of our counter-protest group got pushed and pulled by police and arrested,” said Eris Koleszar, Fight Against Fascism Nebraska. “Our event was happening without any kind of interruption. We got pushed back by horses. The bikes were pushing us back."

Koleszar says the police response was exaggerated. 

"They shot pepper bullets at us and they kept telling us to get further and further back and disband,” Koleszar said. “When reached the side of the building, on the west side over there, one of the people from the Black Bloc was having a really bad reaction to the pepper bullets."

President Trump supporters disagree.

"Had the police not been here, they weren't up here to give us hugs," said Shayla McShannon, Omaha.

McShannon says the masked protestors were violent.

"The police did a great job,” McShannon said. “They did what they had to do. They had a group of people, couldn't see their faces, being violent. Kids were here. Beautiful patriotic music was being played."

With numerous anti-Trump protests in the downtown area since the election, McShannon says a pro-Trump rally is refreshing.

"It was necessary,” she said. “There's been so much anti-Trump negativity going on, so many rallies and protests, protesting everything. I can't even keep track of it anymore."