A few hundred protesters greet Trump at the NRA convention in Atlanta

A few hundred protesters staged a “die-in” in downtown Atlanta minutes before President Donald Trump appeared Friday at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention. They then marched through the city to the site of a fundraiser Trump attended in the city before he left in the afternoon.

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 started in downtown’s Woodruff Park blocks away from the convention site, said it was meant to call attention to gun violence and what they see as lax controls on the purchase and use of firearms. The protest, however, took on a decidedly political tone.

“We’re going to have to continue airing our grievances,” Gerald Griggs with the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice said 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 came as those attending the convention carried on as usual, with only a handful of members engaging with protesters.

Christian Lemke, who was in town from Columbia, S.C., to attend the NRA convention, appealed to protesters for a dialogue.

“They’re talking about fascism, and we are against fascism, too, because we want less government control,” said Lemke, who works for a political organization but declined to say which one. He said there was a “diversity of opinion” on gun regulation among Second Amendment activists and he personally was in favor of universal background checks.

“I don’t think you should have felons walking around with guns,” Lemke said.

Protesters, however, also took aim at Trump, shouting “not my president” as his motorcade drove through a phalanx of police to the site of a fundraiser for Handel at a nearby downtown location.

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.

A second, larger protest has been planned for Saturday, when gun control advocates backed by Everytown for Gun Safety will hold an 11 a.m. rally at the park with a lineup that includes Atlanta’s U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

Organizers say they have received at least 1,000 RSVPs for that event, which will include both local and national activists.

Staff writer Meris Lutz contributed to this article.