PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Protesters have gathered outside the Peoria Civic Center ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visit to Illinois Friday.

According to a previous press release, DeSantis will be the Keynote Speaker during the joint Peoria and Tazewell County 2023 Lincoln Day Dinner.

Ahead of the dinner, several local groups have come out to protest DeSantis, including Peorians for Black Liberties, ACLU of Illinois, Peoria Proud and Peoria IL-National Organization for Women.

Protesters gathered outside the Civic Center with signs and made speeches to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community and said hate has no place in Peoria.

The president of Peoria Proud, Cassie Lucchesi, said they do not agree with Desantis policies in Florida and are here to make a peaceful statement.

“Representation matters, and so when we are public, when we are able to be seen, especially something that is so divisive at times and the climate in which we are living right now, it’s important for us to be seen and to be recognized,” Lucchesi said.

Organizers estimated that 50 people were in attendance.

This story will be updated.