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Trump called for protesters. They turned up and demanded his arrest

A supporter of former President Donald Trump protests near the office of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg (Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump, reportedly on the brink of being indicted for his role in paying off adult movie star Stormy Daniels, called for his supporters to turn out to the Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday to protest.

Some of those supporters did show up. But they were outnumbered by demonstrators who support the indictment of the former president, a Manhattan native who achieved just over 12 per cent of the vote in his former home borough in the 2020 election.

The demonstrators there called for Mr Trump’s arrest and chanted “No one is above the law.” It was not, some observers mused, the type of protest Mr Trump was likely hoping for.

Mr Trump said over the weekend that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, but the business day on Tuesday ended with no further news on his legal status. The grand jury reportedly hearing Mr Trump’s case is expected to return on Wednesday, possibly to vote on his indictment.

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If Mr Trump is indicted, as is expected, it will be the first time ever that an ex-president has been indicted for a crime. The indictment would carry added weight given that Mr Trump is not only the former president, but also the leading Republican candidate for president in 2024.

The total number of demonstrators was relatively small given the size of pro- and anti-Trump rallies in the past, and there were no reports of violence. Mr Trump is facing the possible indictment in Manhattan as well as a number of other criminal and civil legal concerns related to his efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election and his real estate dealings.

Mr Trump is hoping a potential indictment doesn’t harm his chances of being elected again next year, and while he may remain popular in a number of more heavily Republican states, he is decidedly unpopular in New York: at last check, his approval rating in the state was just 38 per cent.