TOPEKA — Carrying colorful signs and chanting fervent phrases, about 500 people lined the sidewalks Saturday near the Kansas Expocentre to voice opposition on several fronts to President Donald Trump's leadership and policies.
Many protesters took issue with the confirmation hours earlier of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lexy Turntine, 18, said she didn't think members of Congress listened to their constituents while considering Trump's nominee.
"There should have been a more thorough investigation," she said of sexual assault allegations brought against Kavanaugh by multiple women.
The crowd broke into chants that included "we believe survivors."
Twelve-year-old Laynie Hooper, of Topeka, said she was attending her first protest because she wanted to stand up for what she believes in, including women's rights.
Other people held signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ rights.
Mark Pringle drove about two hours from Yates Center to present another angle of discontent. As a corn and soybean farmer, Pringle said the tariffs Trump enacted against China have hurt his business.
"He does things rashly," Pringle said. "And it's costing farmers dearly."
The tariffs have led to losing China as a buyer, he said, and once you lose a market, it is difficult to regain it.
Pringle described the move as an "ill-advised decision" and said he believes Trump takes farmers' votes for granted.
He said he is also concerned about closure of rural hospitals, like the one in Fort Scott, which announced it was shuttering its doors last week, and Medicaid expansion, which is an issue for farmers.
Protesters broke into chants of "love trumps hate" and "we'll remember in November," alluding to the upcoming midterm elections.
Graciela Berumen said she thinks Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is the Republican gubernatorial nominee, has used fear to try to divide people. Berumen, of Manhattan, brought her 13-year-old son, Jose Prado. He said he doesn't think Trump is "making America great again" and doesn't like the president's language.
Wearing a black "make racism wrong again" hat, the Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan said she came out to voice opposition to Kobach.
"I see him as being really destructive towards education," she said. "I see that he really supports the kind of economic policies that (former Gov. Sam) Brownback supported, which is to starve our state."
On immigration, Ysenia Marques, of Topeka, said family separations at the border brought her to tears. The nation is made up of immigrants, she said.
At one point, a small group of Trump supporters and protesters clashed, with both sides yelling into bullhorns. Topeka Police Department officers and Kansas Highway Patrol troopers asked the groups to return to their sidewalk areas.
Topeka police Sgt. Jayme Green said he didn't know of any arrests being made during the protest.