Perhaps taking the lead of their president as the 2018 mid-terms approach, pro-Trump supporters gathered to counter the anti-Trump Administration messages of Vigil for Democracy demonstrators across Chester Street upped their volume and confrontational tone on Wednesday, August 1.
Back from his summer fishing vacation, one of the two original Chester Street pro-Trump demonstrators, Ralph Waller, sported a sign reading “Honk 3 times for Trump”. That request was up by two honks from previous “Honk for Trump” signage displayed on the Trump side of Chester Street on Wednesday afternoons.
Perhaps Ralph was seeking to differentiate between the occasional, unsolicited honks of support offered to the “Vigil” side of the street in past months.
However, the most noticeable change – one this reporter had not previously witnessed over 16 months of visits to the dueling political demonstrations – was the introduction of a megaphone to directly confront and challenge the other side.
“Don’t look away,” came one megaphone message from what appeared to be about a 16-year-old Trump supporter after issuing a political-perspective challenge toward vigil participants across Chester Street. The megaphone-broadcast challenges continued from among the 12 pro-Trump supporters, while vigil participants we counted at 15 maintained the focus of their signage-transmitted issues toward passing motorists.
The dueling anti-and pro-Trump political demonstrations have faced off for over a year in downtown Front Royal after Vigil organizer Len Sherp began his protests of Trump and his administration policies on March 8, 2017.
The megaphone messaging came one week after the “turf war” on the Gazebo side of Chester Street. As Royal Examiner reported last week, FRPD officers explained to five Warren County Republican Committee pro-Trump demonstrators in the Gazebo on July 25 that the Vigil for Democracy is permitted by the Town for the “Gazebo area” for one specified hour weekly. So it was back to the west side of Chester Street where the pro-Trump contingent in front of Waller’s pawn shop has been permitted for its gatherings. See Related Story
Since our August 1 photo-taking visit was short due to conflicting assignments, we later asked one Vigil for Democracy participant present for the duration how the megaphone messaging went over the course of the hour between 5 and 6 p.m.
“They were playing ‘Big Bad Don’ at us through the megaphone and trying to taunt us with 60-solid minutes worth of ‘Communists, Baby Killers, Socialists,’ ” came the reply.
Sounds like fun. Sorry we missed the full performance – or not.