Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic and yelled “racists go home” outside Trump’s first major California campaign rally, where the Republican frontrunner again vowed to crack down on “illegal immigration.” The Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported the high arrest count, and photos and videos from the scene show anti-Trump protesters jumping on police cars and smashing car windows.
“We’re going to build a wall,” Trump said at the beginning of Thursday’s rally. “We can’t have this, folks. We don’t have a country anymore. I’m looking at statistics where your crime numbers are so crazy, they’re going through the roof.”
Meanwhile, the scene outside grew increasingly violent as fights broke out between Trump supporters and protesters. According to NBC News, protesters were also heard yelling: “Whose streets? Our streets!”
“This is the anger people have against Trump,” 21-year-old Jose Cruz told the Los Angeles Times, pointing to the protesters running in the middle of the street.
A @realDonaldTrump supporter just got punched in the face as a scuffle broke out in the street:
Large-scale protests have grown more common outside Trump events throughout his campaign. Earlier this month in New York, more than a dozen protesters were taken to jail and demonstrations escalated into violence when a Trump supporter entered the protest area. In Chicago, the Trump campaign ended up calling off a rally because of threats of violence, but not before four protesters and a reporter were taken into custody.
In California alone, there have been several incidents attributed to Trump’s rhetoric — a woman has been arrested for yelling at two Latinos speaking Spanish at an IHOP in Los Angeles and demanding that they speak English, a man was arrested for yelling “I’m going to kill you all” outside an Islamic Center, and a violent KKK rally ended in three people being stabbed and 13 arrested. A leader of the Loyal White Knights in California and other western states organized the event to decry “illegal immigration and Muslims.”
Yet Trump has yet to condemn his supporters’ actions. In fact, he has encouraged them on several occasions and continues to incite violence with his xenophobic language. Colby Nicholson, a Trump supporter who spoke with the Los Angeles Times in Costa Mesa, said of the protesters: “These people are stupid, but Americans are not stupid in general. These are all underage Mexican high schoolers who have nothing to do.”