The Trump Show Hits Dallas, Protest Organizers Ban Mexican Flags

It took a while, but the details of Dallas' latest encounter with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign finally got filled in Wednesday afternoon. After a nearly weeklong search for a venue, the Trump operation found a DFW home at the Southside Ballroom, otherwise known as the big room at the Gilley's complex in the Cedars.

"Don't bring flags from any other countries. If you do, we will ask you to leave our demonstration."

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If you're thinking about attending, you should definitely seek tickets now. In September, a Monday-night Trump rally at the American Airlines Center drew a crowd that might have been as big as 15,000. The ballroom holds about 4,500 if it's stuffed to maximum capacity.

Doors for the show open at 4 p.m., with the Donald slated to go on at about 7 p.m. Standard sporting event or concert rules apply — you shouldn't bring a big bag or a professional quality camera — and presidential campaigns mean enhanced, airport-style security.

Trump's primary mission in Dallas is raising money at private fundraiser slated for early Thursday afternoon. When that was the only event on the docket, protests of the candidate were planned for the Highland Park Village Shopping Center, owned by Vice Chairman of the Trump Victory Committee Ray Washbourne.

But now that there's a public rally, longtime Dallas activist Domingo Garcia and Next Generation Action Network Founder Dominique Alexander are planning to rally at Gilley's at 6 p.m. 

Organizers are asking that demonstrators wear white shirts "to promote peace" and carry American flags rather than the Mexican flags that have been popular at other Trump protests in Texas and around the country.

"This is about America and what the Statue of Liberty stands for and American values," Garcia said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "Don't bring flags from any other countries. If you do, we will ask you to leave our demonstration."

"We will be giving Donald Trump a warm, hot Texas welcome," Garcia said. "We are expecting to send a message to Donald Trump that his campaign of hatred, bigotry and division is not welcome in the United States or North Texas."

Not so coincidentally, Dallas Police officers on Wednesday morning underwent training at Fair Park for dealing with demonstrators or potential rioters. Deputy Chief Jeff Cotner said that DPD was preparing for election season, but didn't mention Trump by name.

"In our country everyone has the privilege to assemble and to give voice, and the Dallas Police Department's role in that is to protect everyone in that process," Cotner told reporters after the training. 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young