Protests as Trump visits Pittsburgh after mass shooting

By | October 30, 2018

US President Donald Trump faced protests as he visited Pittsburgh to pay tribute to the victims of the synagogue mass shooting.

Eleven people died after a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue during a baby naming ceremony on Saturday.

Robert Bowers has been charged with 29 counts of criminal activity, including hate crimes and using a firearm to commit murder.

Mr Trump stepped out of Air Force One on Tuesday accompanied by wife Melania, along with daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who are both Jewish.

People protest the arrival of US President Donald Trump as he visits the Tree of Life Congregation on October 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Image: Hundreds of people protested, saying Donald Trump should not visit

The US president’s visit was on the same day as the first of the victims’ funerals and comes amid growing accusations that his rhetoric has encouraged antisemitism.

Around 2,000 protesters, including many of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, were waiting for him.

Some held signs saying things such as “President Hate, leave our state” and “Trump lies kill”.

Earlier, more than 74,000 people had signed an open letter from a group of Jewish leaders that told Mr Trump: “You are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism”.

People protesting against US President Donald Trump gather near the Tree of Life Congregation on October 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Image: Protesters were ready to meet the president when he visited Pittsburgh

Police patrol outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh
Image: Eleven people were killed in the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue

Pittsburgh’s Democratic mayor Bill Peduto had earlier declined an invitation to join the Trumps, telling the Washington Post that the attention “should be on the victims”.

He also said: “We do not have enough public safety officials to provide enough protection at the funerals and to be able at the same time draw attention to a potential presidential visit.”

 woman protesting against US President Donald Trump waits near the Tree of Life Congregation on October 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Image: Donald Trump was met by protesters on his visit to mourners in Pittsburgh

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with Rabbi Jeffrey Myers as they place stones at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in the wake of the shooting at the synagogue where 11 people were killed and six people were wounded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 30, 2018
Image: Donald Trump and First Lady Melania placed stones on a memorial outside the synagogue

Mr Trump’s first stop was the synagogue where the shooting took place, where he was joined by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Israel’s ambassador Ron Dermer.

He lit candles for each victim inside before walking to the front of the building, where he and Mrs Trump laid white roses and stones at a memorial for the victims.

Then they headed to University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre to visit those still being treated . Six people were injured in the shooting and four of them remain in hospital.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and Tree of Life Synagogue Rabbi Jeffrey Myers as he arrives with (L-R) his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and first lady Melania Trump outside the synagogue where a gunman killed eleven people
Image: Mr Trump met Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer and Tree of Life Synagogue Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

White House senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump speak with Rabbi Jeffrey Myers as U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay their respects outside the Tree of Life synagogue in the wake of the shooting at the synagogue where 11 people were killed and six people were wounded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S
Image: Six people were also injured in the shooting, four of whom remain in hospital

The White House said the president was visiting to “express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Pittsburgh community”.

Paul Carberry, 55, lives near the synagogue and said Mr Trump should not have visited until after all of the funerals.

He criticised the president’s divisive words, saying: “He didn’t pull the trigger, but his verbiage and actions don’t help.”

Barry Werber, 76, survived the massacre by hiding in a storage closet.

He said he hoped Mr Trump would not visit, blaming the president’s words for “bigots coming out of the woodwork”.

But others were more welcoming of the president.

David Dvir, 52, said politics should take a pause for grief, adding: “It’s our president, and we need to welcome him.”

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