TULSA, Okla. (AP) — President Donald Trump's supporters faced off with protesters shouting “Black Lives Matter" Saturday in Tulsa as the president held his first campaign rally in months amid public health concerns about the coronavirus and fears that the event could lead to violence in the wake of killings of Black people by police.
Hundreds of marchers flooded the city's downtown streets and blocked traffic at times, but police reported just one arrest as of Saturday afternoon. Many on foot chanted, and some occasionally got into shouting matches with Trump supporters, who outnumbered them and yelled, “all lives matter.”
Later in the evening, a group of armed men began following the protesters. When the protesters blocked an intersection, a man wearing a Trump shirt got out of a truck and spattered them with pepper spray. Police later deployed an irritant gas to try and make the group disperse.
The Trump faithful gathered inside the 19,000-seat BOK Center for what was believed to be the largest indoor event in the country since restrictions to prevent the COVID-19 virus began in March. Many of the president's supporters weren't wearing masks, despite the recommendation of public health officials to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Some had been camped near the venue since early in the week.