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Parade supporting police, Trump drives down Strip

Updated September 30, 2020 - 9:30 pm

Hundreds of cars gathered for a parade to support the Metropolitan Police Department and President Donald Trump on the Strip on Wednesday afternoon.

Organizer Wayne Allyn Root, a local conservative radio talk show host and former freelance columnist for the Review-Journal, said at 3 p.m. that his group had counted more than 600 cars filing into the Ahern Hotel parking garage for the parade.

When the parade ended around 5:45 p.m., Root said he estimated more than 1,000 cars participated in the parade, which drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, turned around at Russell Road and ended at Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office at the Sawyer Building, located at 555 E. Washington Ave.

Root got out of his car at the Sawyer Building and high-fived the driver of each car.

“We’re not here to burn the governor down,” Root said. “We just want him to know that we’re here.”

The group began staging and getting ready at the Ahern Hotel, 300 W. Sahara Ave., around noon, Root said. By about 2:30 p.m., the hotel’s parking garage had filled up with participants. None appeared to wear a mask as hundreds tailgated together.

In a patrol car parked just outside of the Ahern garage, Las Vegas police officers could be seen waving at passing cars. Larry Hadfield, a spokesman for the department, said officers would be stationed along the parade route, as is typical for events.

“The LVMPD does not take sides or political positions,” Hadfield said in a statement about the parade. “Citizens have the right to express their opinions or political positions publicly and in a lawful manner.”

In early August, Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the parade’s starting point nearly $11,000 after the hotel hosted an Evangelicals for Trump campaign event and a Mrs. Nevada pageant that violated the state’s COVID-19 safety measures.

About 700 guests attended the campaign event and 200 attended the pageant, according to the Department of Business and Industry. Sisolak’s directive at the time prohibited public or private gatherings of more than 50 people.

At the time of the OSHA fine, the city of Las Vegas had also previously fined the hotel $250 for violating those restrictions. Owner Don Ahern filed a lawsuit against the city and the state to dispute the fines later in August.

In September, the city of Henderson fined another Ahern property, Xtreme Manufacturing, $3,000 after it hosted a massive Trump rally, citing six observed violations of Sisolak’s order limiting public gatherings.

Sisolak loosened his COVID-19 regulations on Tuesday, with restrictions lifted to allow both indoor and outdoor events to hold up to 250 people, five times the previous cap.

Two women participating in the parade, Michelle Cottingham and Barbara Wilcox, said they met at a Trump rally this year and have been inseparable ever since. Wilcox said she wasn’t political before 2016 because she hates politicians, but that’s why she loves Trump.

“I think it’s important to support our president, and to let people know that we support our president,” Cottingham said. “It’s also just really nice to be around like-minded people when the world is so divided.”

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter.

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