‘Free speech zone’ set up outside Hofstra debate

Thousands of protesters were expected in a designated "free speech zone" near the site of Monday's presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Third-party supporters also arrived to protest the exclusion of Libertarian and Green Party candidates from the debate.

The protest area is just off of Uniondale Avenue, behind the David S. Mack Sports Complex that is hosting the debate hall.

Some protesters arrived early and traveled a long way to get to the debate.

"I'm here to say as someone who helped start her campaign and gave her five years of my life, that this woman is treacherous," Bob Kunst, of Miami Beach, Florida, said of Hillary Clinton. "She is part of the mess, and there is no way she can clean it up."

Others had less of a journey, like April Brucker, of New York City.

"We need someone like Hillary Clinton who can stand up for people who are marginalized, who will stand up for the underdog and will do a lot of good for this country," Brucker said.

Some people News 12 spoke with said they had specific issues they hoped the candidates will address.

Gary Kasten, a Hofstra alumnus who lives in Oceanside, said he hoped the controversial Dakota Access Oil Pipeline would get some attention during the debate. The 1,100-mile pipeline could run through Native American land and has faced numerous protests for that reason.

Anyone who plans on attending the free speech zone or near the outer perimeter of the debate area will have to go through a security screening.

Nassau police said they had not heard of any credible threats by demonstrators and were hoping for a smooth evening. 

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