Protesters rally ahead of Donald Trump’s ‘SNL’ appearance

More than 200 demonstrators from Latino groups and their allies protested outside NBC’s studios Saturday night in New York City, venting frustrations and condemning the network’s decision to allow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to host this week’s edition of “Saturday Night Live.”

The outcry comes in response to Trump’s controversial remarks in June, when he said of Mexican immigrants, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Standing behind metal barricades outside NBC headquarters in midtown Manhattan, protesters held signs and chanted in Spanish and English: “Dump Trump,” “The people united will never be defeated” and “We are not criminal, we are workers.”

They said Trump is offensive and the protesters believe that the network, which had cut business ties with the billionaire real estate mogul over his incendiary comments, is condoning his remarks.

“A lot of what Donald Trump had said is offensive, but the most offensive thing is the support he has been getting from mainstream media,” Michaela Warnsley, a Harlem resident, told MSNBC. “[SNL] definitely thinks [what Trump said] is a joke and laughable when it’s not. When a person like that is allowed to not only become a presidential candidate and a possible president of a country that was built off of immigrants, the people have to stand and say it’s not OK.”

The protest started around 6 p.m. ET at the GOP candidate’s Trump Tower on 725 Fifth Avenue. Protesters marched to NBC’s headquarters at Rockefeller Center, where others already gathered.

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This is the second protest this week. An earlier protest on Wednesday evening drew about 30 protesters and organizers handed NBC a petition signed by more than 500,000 people asking “SNL” and its parent company to “disinvite” Trump. Even though their request was not granted, Frank Garcia, chairman of the New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, told MSNBC they will take other actions.

“NBC would have to make it up,” said Garcia. “They’ve really, really disappointed us, and [we’re calling on] the Latino organizations not to put advertisements in Telemundo (an American Spanish-language broadcast television network owned by NBCUniversal) and NBC. That’s the only way to hurt them economic-wise.”

He believes that Trump’s appearance on the show is “for the money” and a ploy to boost ratings.

“We’re not going to tolerate Trump or any corporation that supports someone so negative like Trump,” he said.

Trump supporter Diane Atkins, who stood behind metal barricades opposite to opponents, said she has to support the White House hopeful “and his right for free speech,” even though “he might have over generalized [his remarks] a little.

“He has a right to his opinion. Sometimes the truth hurts,” said Atkins, who had a Ted Cruz button on her shirt. “The indisputable fact is that America has the right to protest its sovereignty. That means protecting our border [and] citizens from illegals.”

Henry Cames, a protester, said the rally is “a sign that sends a warning to other program that wants to [host Trump.] We have to build a mass movement against his racist message,” he said.

Donald Trump and Saturday Night Live

Protesters rally ahead of Donald Trump's 'SNL' appearance