Thousands attend Donald Trump's campaign rally in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Thousands attend Donald Trump's campaign rally in Hartford

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Donald Trump speaks in Hartford. (WFSB) Donald Trump speaks in Hartford. (WFSB)
Crowds lined up early in Hartford on Friday for Donald Trump's campaign event. (WFSB) Crowds lined up early in Hartford on Friday for Donald Trump's campaign event. (WFSB)
Trump Supporters Lining up inside the Convention Center. (WFSB) Trump Supporters Lining up inside the Convention Center. (WFSB)
Donald Trump to appear at event in Hartford. (AP file) Donald Trump to appear at event in Hartford. (AP file)
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Thousands of people showed up at the Convention Center in Hartford on Friday to see Donald Trump speak.

Trump arrived Bradley International Airport and was escorted to the Connecticut Convention Center by Connecticut State Police. The rally began at about 7 p.m. and lasted for about a half hour.

"Connecticut, more than anything else...boy do you need jobs. We need jobs," Trump said on Friday night.

Thousands of people were let inside the center to hear the Republican presidential candidate talk, while hundreds of protesters were outside letting their views be heard.

Trump talked about jobs leaving Connecticut, saying he's going to make the state and the country better.

Hartford police said no arrests were made at the rally. There were a few disruptions during the speech, and a few protesters were escorted out.

"He stands on his own two feet...waiting for 8 years for someone like that," Mansfield resident Mike Perry said. "Get rid of what we got in there. Get somebody that can get this country straightened out."

"He's up front in your face -- he tells you how it is. Some people don't like that, that's unfortunately why our country is headed in the wrong direction," said Eric Hallstrom of Milford.

However, there were many non-supporters as well.

"I don't like him, I don't like his persona. I don't like what he stands for," said Nancy DePaola, of Branford.

A crowd of more than 8,000 people was expected to attend Trump's event. The event was pretty much sold out. 

"I was a Democrat until I found out he was running and I love everything about him," Linda Dudley said. "And so I became a republican, so I could vote in the primary."

Traffic delays were felt in the capital city, especially in the areas of State Street, American Row, Columbus Boulevard and access to the Founders Bridge ahead of the event.

Police officers were in the area to help with traffic flow. 

Protesters started lining up for the event outside the Convention Center on Friday afternoon. Close to 800 protesters and supporters chanted outside the center.

"I support their right to protest but when you're shouting racial slurs and saying every supporter is a racist, you're basing your opinion not on fact and just on stereotype, you can't really be respected," said Quinn Vissak.

"I am surprised to see so many trump supporters in Hartford," protester Kevante Norwood said. "I didn't think there would be this many."

Many of the protesters held up different signs protesting everything, from Trump's immigration policy to what some are calling his message of hate. 

"We don't agree with what he stands for and how he uses fear to gain supporters and followers," protester Ivie Efianayi said. "He puts fear in a lot of immigrants and he's saying he's going to deport them and get them out of this country. He's going to build a wall and they're going to pay for the wall. All this stuff is nonsense in my opinion." 

The protests continued through the event, and after the rally had ended.

"A few of his supporters, they spit on people who were protesting him. He let's that go on and people support him. They're a representation of him," said Kevante Norwood. 

Police had designated the front portion of the Convention Center as a place where protesters could congregate. 

Because of the large crowds, some downtown businesses let workers out early including Travelers. Employees at Travelers were let out at noon on Friday. 

New York's primary is this coming Tuesday and the Hartford event may be an attempt to create excitement and energize his campaign. Trump was at a Republican gala Thursday night in Manhattan. 

However, many Connecticut GOP elected officials are trying to distance themselves from Trump and are looking for more moderate candidates to support. 

Some Connecticut legislators invited John Kasich to Fairfield last week. GOP legislators said they view him as more of a moderate. Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, Mayor Mark Boughton, and State Senator Tony Hwang are among those endorsing Kasich, who campaigned in Connecticut on April 8

Connecticut Democratic Party Executive Director Alynn Woischke released a statement on their endorsement.

"John Kasich is far from the moderate candidate he pretends to be. As governor, he severely restricted a woman's right to choose, with more than half of Ohio's abortion providers closing thanks to his draconian policies. Like many other extreme Republican governors, he has defunded Planned Parenthood, stripping critical health care services including cancer screening and HIV/AIDS testing from low-income Ohio women. He also tried to take away collective bargaining rights from many Ohio workers, until voters soundly rejected his proposal," Woischke said.  

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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