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Former President Donald Trump left the courthouse around 4 p.m. (Kevin Wu for WSN)

Trump pleads not guilty as protesters, media crowd Manhattan courthouse

Pro-Trump demonstrators and counterprotesters clashed outside a lower Manhattan courthouse on the day of former president Donald Trump’s arraignment.

April 4, 2023

Hundreds of protesters, counterprotesters and members of the press awaited former president Donald Trump’s arraignment at a lower Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. Trump, who entered the courthouse at around 2 p.m., pleaded not guilty to all 34 felony charges brought against him.

Some of Trump’s political allies, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far-right Congresswoman from Georgia, as well as Rep. George Santos, made brief appearances before the crowd.

Representative Majorie Taylor Greene speaking to a crowd of protestors with a megaphone. There are many people pointing cameras towards her.
Representative Majorie Taylor Greene addressed the protestors briefly. (Samson Tu for WSN)
Representative George Santos wearing a suit and sunglasses speaks to a crowd while surrounded by people holding cameras.
Representative George Santos was at the site of the protest earlier in the morning. (Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

Less than a block away from the action was NYU’s Lafayette Hall dorm, where three Campus Safety officers were stationed outside. Yesterday, Fountain Walker, who leads NYU’s safety department, warned students of possible “disruptive” protests in the areas around the courthouse.

The entrance to N.Y.U's Lafayette residence hall with three campus safety officers standing at the entrance.
NYU increased security at the Lafayette residence hall near the protest site. (Kevin Wu for WSN)

Walker told WSN on Tuesday evening that additional officers had been assigned to guard Lafayette’s entrances and that residents were provided with lockdown instructions in case of an emergency. The dorm’s security cameras were tested and Campus Safety’s communications center was instructed to pay added attention to camera footage. Walker also said that Campus Safety’s emergency management team was deployed to monitor the protests and that officers across campus were told to be on heightened alert.

Two crowds of protestors shouting at each other while holding signs that read "trump indicated" and "NEW YORK FOR TRUMP."
(Kevin Wu for WSN)

Metal barriers separated pro-Trump demonstrators from counterprotesters, and surrounding streets and the courthouse entrance were blocked off by more barriers and New York City Police Department officers. Protesters clad in bright red Make America Great Again hats shouted “U.S.A.” and “let’s go Brandon,” while counterprotesters chanted “lock him up” and blew whistles. Many pro-Trump demonstrators carried flags reading “Trump 2024” and the American flag, as well as signs reading “TRUMP WON” and “TRUMP OR DIE.”

The New York Young Republican Club, which previously held a smaller rally in front of the courthouse two weeks ago, organized the protest. Paul Ingrassia, a member of the club, said he does not believe any of the charges against Trump will hold up in court.

“It’s a political hit job,” Ingrassia said. “I encourage Trump supporters to come out and demonstrate on behalf of Donald Trump.”

Nate Sirotovich, the president of NYU’s College Republicans, said that the group did not attend the protests, but that he does not know whether individual members chose to take part. He said that the group hopes Trump is treated fairly by the court.

A few NYU students attended the counterprotest, including first-year Rylie Shaeffer, who lives in an apartment building only a few blocks away from the courthouse. Schaeffer said she was glad Trump was being held accountable.

“We’re watching history happen,” Shaeffer said. “Finally justice is happening, finally he’s being held accountable — hopefully this sticks this time.”

Contact Carmo Moniz at [email protected].

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