Adoring supporters, staunch protesters turn up the Arizona heat at Donald Trump rally

The crowd starts to build up as attendees wait to be let into the Trump rally. (Photo by Selena Makrides/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, turned out in the blazing heat to rally behind him at the Arizona fairgrounds.

They bought caps, shirts and downed bottled water before arriving long before Trump was scheduled to speak. The first fan was in line at 2 a.m., and others started lining up to get into Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum hours before it opened to crowds at noon.

Many wore pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton t-shirts, while others wore hats emblazoned with “Make America Great Again,” Trump’s campaign catchphrase.

The scene in front of the entrance was largely peaceful, with few, if any, protesters at the fairgrounds before the rally started at 4 p.m. Instead, the protests were a few miles away at Encanto Park, marked by an giant Trump inflatable and brief but intense confrontation between a Trump supporter and protesters.

Supporters said they came to the rally because they appreciate Trump’s straightforward way of speaking, unlike most politicians.

Many also said they support many of Trump’s policies, which include building a wall on the Mexican-American border to halt illegal immigration and a proposed ban on Muslims being allowed into the country.

Young and old gathered to come see Trump, including Alex Gallagher who wasn’t even old enough to vote.

About 50 people gathered Saturday morning near Encanto Park to voice their opposition to Trump.

The protest was organized by the Somos American coalition, an immigrants rights advocacy group.

Anna Copper, Krandall Bartley, Jiahui Jia, Selena Makrides, Gabriel Sandler, Christina Tetreault and Anokina Touman contributed to coverage.