• August 7, 2020

Handful of protesters turn out - Odessa American: Local News

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Handful of protesters turn out

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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 3:18 pm

Katherine Ochoa and Vance Thompson wanted to make their voices heard, even if they were slightly outnumbered.

While the sidewalks in downtown Odessa were filled with mostly Donald Trump supporters who were awaiting the arrival of the president of the United States, Ochoa and Thompson were among those not happy to see him, protesting the president’s visit Wednesday to the Odessa Marriott Hotel & Convention Center.

“We’re using the rights that we have as American citizens and to come out here and protest,” Ochoa said.

The two have lived in the Permian Basin their whole lives with Ochoa hailing from Midland and Thompson residing in Odessa.

Both Ochoa and Thompson stood along Grant Avenue at the intersection of Fifth Street, holding signs. Ochoa’s sign read “History has its eyes on you” while Thompson’s showed an illustration of Trump as a Pokemon under the label “Not my Pokemon.”

Ochoa wants Wednesday’s moment to be something for her to tell her family about for years to come.

“Just knowing that all of this is going down in history one day and I want to be able to say to my kids that when it happened in my town that I stood up for what I thought was right,” Ochoa said.

Thompson said he was not happy with the way Trump has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re out here to protest, specifically, his handling of COVID-19, his handling of the economy and his lack of a response to do anything to help the local energy development industries,” Thompson said.

Ochoa has been vocal about Trump’s deregulation of the oil industry.

“Specifically, I know he’s coming out here to shake hands with big oil and has promised deregulation and I have a problem with that because the regulation has been put in the place for the safety of the workers and the safety of the environment and so I think, really, it’s just putting money into the pockets of the ultra rich,” Ochoa said. “They’re just shaking hands and we’re going to end up with deregulation of industry and we’re going to pay the price.”

Ochoa added that this is the only protest that she’s been to in her life, but she was also planning on going to Midland later in the day when the president was supposed to participate in a tour of Double Eagle Energy Oil Rig.

“This is really the only one that I’ve been too in my life,” Ochoa said. “I’ll also be at the Midland site that he’s going to later (Wednesday).”

The president arrived in the Permian Basin Wednesday morning, landing at Midland Air and Space Port before departing to Odessa where he arrived at the Marriott at noon for a luncheon and to deliver remarks to supporters at a fundraiser and participate in a roundtable before departing back to Midland.

But while Ochoa and Thompson were one of the few people protesting Trump’s arrival in the Permian Basin, they said they received a few signs of support from passersby.

“We’ve gotten our fair share of people honking and waving and giving us a thumbs up and we’ve had a few people take photos,” Thompson said.

For Thompson, this wasn’t the first protest he’s taken part in, adding that he’s participated on five other occasions including the recent racial justice rallies in Odessa.

“I went to one of the George Floyd protests here and in addition to that, I did one more that was in Austin.”

Odessa, TX

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