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Libertarians, Democrats rally against Donald Trump

Jonathan Oosting and Chad Livengood Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Dimondale – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rally at a mid-Michigan sports complex attracted a small contingent of protesters from both the Democratic and Libertarian parties who voiced their opposition to the New York billionaire.

One protester wearing a Donald Duck costume stomped around the parking lot of the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in suburban Lansing, holding a sign critical of Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.

“Donald Trump is the only major nominee in the last 40 years to ‘duck’ away from his tax returns despite bipartisan requests,” said Mike Huerta of the United Auto Workers Local 602 in Lansing, reading a statement on behalf of the costumed character.

“What is he trying to hide?”

Trump to black voters: 'What do you have to lose?'

Spike Tyson, a Lansing-area resident and military veteran wounded in the Vietnam War, described himself as an atheist protesting Trump’s “absurd” religious views.

Wearing his purple heart on his hat, Tyson also criticized Trump’s past comments about Republican Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain, who Trump suggested was not a hero because he was captured in north Vietnam and spent more than five years as a prisoner of war.

“I’d like to see Donald Trump go into combat for two seconds,” Tyson said. “He’d probably mess himself real bad, and that’s before the bullets fly.”

Bruce Fealk of Rochester Hills brought a bull horn to the rally and was leading anti-Trump chants outside the venue, saying he thinks Trump is a “dangerous” candidate.

“If he were to get into the oval office and be intimidated by a tweet from Vladimir Putin, I’m not too sure I want his finger on the button,” he said. “He’s easily intimidated.”

Fealk protested Trump last month at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He also went to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia as a delegate for Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and is still not sure whether he’ll vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton this fall.

“I think Donald Trump’s already beating himself,” Fealk said. “I think that’s been Hillary’s strategy lately — she’s been quiet and is just letting Donald Trump ruin his own campaign.”

Protesting the demonstrators

Shari Crozier of Saginaw was on hand to protest the protesters, standing across the street from a small crowd holding up signs supporting Trump and one that referred to Clinton as “Hitlary.”

“Because that’s what I think she is. She’s Hitler’s spawn, man,” said Crozier, criticizing Clinton over the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Trump is a “family values” candidate, she argued.

“I also love the idea of building a wall,” Crozier said, referencing Trump’s plan for the Mexican border. “And I love the ban on Muslims entering our country, because plain and simple, our country needs to stay safe first.”

A group of Libertarians supporting former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson parked a trailer that featured a mini Statue of Liberty along the access drive to the sports complex.

“We’re out here today to show people there’s a third option between … Clinton and Trump – both suck,” said Michelle Gregoire, who is running as a Libertarian candidate for the state House of Representatives in a Calhoun County district. “They’re both big-government-loving people. Trump wants to build a wall, he’s kind of a bigot, fascist. Hillary Clinton, we all know she’s a pathological liar.”

Lansing resident Vincent Marinaro, 26, stood outside The Summit sports complex with a half-dozen protesters carrying signs that read “Stop The Hate,” “Making America Racist Again” and “His Hair Is As Fake As His Promises.”

Marinaro said Trump’s proposals to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and temporarily ban immigration from Arab states linked to international terrorism is “racist.”

“It annoys me when people ask me, ‘Why do you think he’s racist?’ It just shows me how dumb people are,” Marinaro said.