A couple hundred protesters staged a “die-in” in downtown Atlanta minutes before President Donald Trump was scheduled to appear Friday at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention.
The NRA, a powerful political advocate for gun rights, has also been a formidable opponent of gun control laws.
Organizers of Friday’s protest, which was held in downtown’s Woodruff Park blocks away from the convention site, was meant to call attention to gun violence and lax controls on the purchase and use of firearms.
The protest, however, took on a decidedly politically tone.
“We’re going to have to continue airing our grievances,” said Gerald Griggs with the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, before leading the crowd in a chant of “Flip the 6th.”
The chant referenced the nationally watched congressional race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel in the northern metro suburbs, a traditionally Republican area.
The protest was the first of two scheduled for the park during the convention.
On Saturday, national advocates backed by Everytown for Gun Safety are planning an 11 a.m. rally at the park with a line-up that includes Atlanta’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
Organizers say they have received at least 1,000 RSVP’s for that event, which will include both local and national activists.
More than 80,000 people are expected to attend the convention, which is the NRA’s showcase event for the year and also features hundreds of exhibitors.
Trump, whose visit marks the first time since Ronald Reagan that a sitting president has attended the convention, is also expected to attend a fund-raiser for 6th Congressional District candidate Karen Handel Friday afternoon.