Watch the live stream of the rally above, starting at 7 p.m.
TULSA, Okla. — Supporters of President Donald Trump filled the streets Saturday around the Tulsa stadium where the president will hold his first rally in months, ready to welcome him back to the campaign trail despite warnings from health officials about the coronavirus and the possibility of conflicts with protesters.
The crowd filtered into the 19,000-seat BOK Center for what is expected to be the biggest indoor event the country has seen since restrictions to prevent the COVID-19 virus began in March. Trump had been expected to speak at an outdoor event within a perimeter of tall metal barriers around the BOK Center, but that appearance was abruptly canceled.
Many of the president's supporters weren't wearing masks, despite the recommendation of public health officials to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Some had been camped near the venue since early in the week. But in the hours before the event, crowds seemed significantly lighter than expected and a large number of seats remained empty in the arena an hour before Trump was set to take the stage.
Meanwhile, thousands of people filled the downtown streets, including a large group of Black Lives Matter protesters who chanted and marched, occasionally getting into shouting matches with Trump supporters who chanted, “all lives matter.”
The protesters blocked traffic in at least one intersection. Some Black leaders in Tulsa have said they're worried the visit could lead to violence. It's happening amid protests over racial injustice and policing across the U.S. and in a city that has a long history of racial tension. Officials said they expected some 100,000 people in Tulsa's downtown.
Several blocks away from the BOK Center was a festival-like atmosphere, with food vendors serving hot dogs and cold drinks and sidewalks lined with people selling various Trump regalia.