If Trump wins the election, what are these people going to do; start a war?
Supporters and critics of Donald Trump squared off Wednesday as the presidential candidate held a rally in Anaheim, with police making several arrests after some demonstrators threw objects at them.
After Trump departed, a small group of protesters remained in the area, ignoring orders by police to disperse. One trash can was set on fire, some protesters threw rocks, and large throngs of police were trying to push the remaining demonstrators away.
At least seven adults and one juvenile were arrested over the course of the day — with many taken into custody after police declared unlawful assembly.
“You can’t arrest all of us,” one woman shouted. Another group of anti-Trump demonstrators continued to linger, yelling, “Mexico! Mexico!”
Around the Anaheim Convention Center, lines of mounted police moved through the streets, with several dozen protesters in front of them. Some had scarves covering their face, others taunted police officers. By 3 p.m., only a couple dozen protesters remained, with one person tearing down a stop sign near Katella Avenue.
Inside the center, after his speech was interrupted at one point by a protester, Trump paused for a moment and said: “The safest place to be in our country is a Trump rally.” He ended his speech to loud applause.
Earlier in the afternoon, a small crowd of Trump supporters who had been hurling racially charged remarks at a large group of demonstrators was escorted away “in the interest of public safety,” according to Sgt. Daron Wyatt, an Anaheim police spokesman. The group of about five people was asked to leave by police and did so voluntarily, Wyatt added.
Two people were ejected from the rally by Trump’s security personnel, but Wyatt did not know why. Of those arrested, one person was arrested outside the arena for allegedly illegally selling shirts without a license. Two others were arrested on suspicion of urinating in public, Wyatt said.
A shoving match between a different crowd of Trump supporters and protesters was broken up by Orange County sheriff’s deputies.
“I think a lot of it was the planning and preparation. We had a very strong uniformed presence from the beginning, which I think set the tone. It helped by keeping the protestors away from the attendees as well,” Wyatt said.
One person was ejected from the rally for causing “some sort of disturbance,” according to Mike Lyster, a city spokesman.
It wasn’t clear if the person was a Trump supporter or opponent, or exactly what they did, Lyster said.
Outside, the anti-Trump crowd marched in a circle around the group that has been hurling insults at protesters. A large group of sheriff’s deputies in riot gear stationed behind the police lines was there on standby, Lyster said. The deployment was organized weeks in advance and was not in response to an incident at a Trump rally in New Mexico on Tuesday night, Lyster said.
Before the rally, two men were positioned at the main entrance of the convention center, holding a sign calling for an end to abortion and Islam while a few people holding signs denouncing Trump looked on.
One man with a loudspeaker was pacing in front of a police line, screaming a series of pro-Christian, anti-gay messages, and a small crowd of people chanting against Trump began trying to shout him down.
One Trump backer engaged in a verbal exchange with protesters.
“Are you an illegal?” the man repeatedly asked the anti-Trump crowd members.
Nearly two dozen Anaheim police officers looked on as the confrontation between the two crowds was confined to shouts and chants.
Rogelio Banuelos, a 26-year-old Costa Mesa man holding an anti-Trump sign, said he came to Anaheim on Wednesday to stand up against what he perceives as Trump’s hate speech.
“I feel his language is problematic. It’s meant to incite fear of the other,” said Rogelio, who described himself as an undocumented immigrant. “I don’t believe a human being can be illegal.”
Near the entrance, a crowd of four Trump supporters holding Bibles and religious signs were trading insults with a large anti-Trump crowd.
Two of the Trump backers repeatedly asked if the protesters were “illegals.”