A group of protesters, organized in response to comments made by Charlotte council member Dimple Ajmera, contributed to a large crowd at Monday night's city council meeting. During a taping of WCNC's Flashpoint last week, Ajmera said Republicans who support Trump have no place on city council or in the mayoral race.
On Monday afternoon before city council officially met, council member Dimple Ajmera invited the press to a meeting of her own outside of the Government Center. She read from a prepared statement saying her comments on Trump were never about political party, but about values. Ajmera is running for an at-large seat on the council.
After she finished reading she was quickly whisked away taking no questions, and headed to the dinner portion of the city council meeting.
A group across the Government Center was just getting started.
Sean Kilbane is the founder of a grassroots organization called the Charlotte Regional Republican Volunteer Network. About 30 people gathered holding posters. Some looked like signs from Trump’s campaign. Others were homemade and read “Banning voices is un-American” and “Intolerance of other views is intolerant.”
The group had no plans to speak during the public forum portion of the meeting. Kilbane said through their presence, they wanted to show council that there are people who found Ajmera’s language to be divisive. He was concerned more Democrats weren’t speaking out against her comments.
"No one should call for the silencing or banning of any subsection or any of their constituents from government," Kilbane said. "We’ve been down that path in our history and we know it doesn’t work."
Twenty-seven-year-old Jena Gordan came out with her parents. She wore a red "Make America Great Again" hat and held a Trump sign.
"I was very disappointed that she would make a statement like that. Why would a Trump supporter not be allowed on city council?" Gordan said. "My initial thought would be, 'would an Obama supporter be allowed on city council?'"
The public forum portion of the meeting was held in a smaller room in the Government center and true to their word the group stayed out.
But when it was time for council to continue onto the rest of the agenda in its chambers on the first floor, it got pretty packed—unusually so for a city council meeting. And when it was time for the pledge of alliance, it was also, unusually loud.
The rest of the meeting carried on as usual. They stayed for close to 2 hours and slowly left as the agenda rolled on.