Donald Trump Protest Turns Violent In San Diego As Immigration Debates Come To A Head
A protest outside a Donald Trump rally in San Diego turned violent Friday, raising more concerns over the likely Republican nominee, his presidential campaign, and his unapologetic rhetoric about race and immigration issues in America. According to reports, Trump supporters and local police clashed with anti-Trump protesters outside the San Diego Convention Center, where the presumed GOP nominee was holding a campaign rally in advance of the California primary. The anti-Trump demonstration targeted the candidate's harsh immigration policies, which are primarily aimed at Latino immigrants.
Although Friday's protest started out peaceful, the demonstration reportedly ended with riot police, batons and pepper spray. CNN reported that riot police were called in to disperse the anti-Trump protesters. When the protesters didn't leave, law enforcement officials reportedly began using their batons to push the large crowds away. The news source added that pepper spray was used on some of the protesters.
Approximately 1,000 protesters gathered outside the convention center Friday afternoon, the San Diego Police Department confirmed. The violent rise reportedly began after Trump supporters mixed with the anti-Trump protesters, who were kept to a partitioned demonstration area outside the convention center. Altercations inevitably broke out between the opposing sides.
The San Diego Police Department tweeted Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. PT that several protesters attempted to "breech a secured area." An hour later, the police department declared the assembly "unlawful" and told protesters it was illegal to remain in the area. Then, the San Diego Police Department tweeted that riot police were forced to move in after "violence and physical confrontation."
San Diego police confirmed that 35 arrests were made during Friday's protest. No injuries or property damage were reported.
Earlier in the week, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters during a news conference that "violence will not be tolerated" when Trump comes to town. Zimmerman made that announcement following the fiery protests in Albuquerque, where anti-Trump demonstrators reportedly threw burning T-shirts and other items at police officers.
Videos posted on Twitter from the scene outside Trump's San Diego rally show police officers decked out in riot gear. Some videos highlight the police officers checking and hitting protesters with their batons. Several protesters appear to throw items, such as balled-up paper, at the police officers.
10News reporter Michael Chen tweeted a video showing police officers in riot gear tackling San Diego City Attorney candidate Bryan Pease. The video shows Pease walking backward, holding what appears to be his campaign sign, as he faces more than a dozen police officers. Pease tweeted Saturday morning that he was released from jail after 10 hours.
Following the rally and ensuing violence, Trump tweeted praise for the San Diego Police Department. In true Trump fashion, he called the protesters "thugs."