Around 200 people chanted “Coward!” and booed as Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan attended an event in the heavily Democratic state.

A strong police presence kept the crowd across the street from a Providence office building, where Ryan was meeting Thursday with Year Up, a nonprofit career training organization.

Ryan was not seen entering the building, but a motorcade carrying him pulled into an alley, where there’s a back entrance, away from protesters.

“We want him to hear loud and clear that his values are Wall Street values, they’re not Rhode Island values,” said Georgia Hollister Isman, the state director of Rhode Island Working Families. “We’re also here in solidarity with our friends in Wisconsin who’ve been trying for months to get a town hall meeting with him.”

Ryan spokesman Zack Roday said “it is unfortunate protesters chose to demonstrate at Year Up,” where Ryan toured the facilities and took questions from students.

A Republican state lawmaker called the protests “shameful” and said they could hurt the tiny state’s chances of fostering better relations with the White House.