What has America come to? If you disagree with a candidate, protest in peace.
Donald Trump has hit out at ‘thugs’ and ‘criminals’ who protested a rally in Albuquerque last night which turned violent when demonstrators trying to disrupt his speech clashed with riot police, set fires and sent people running in fear over the sound of a ‘gunshot’.
Around 100 protesters broke through a barricade outside the building shortly after Trump took to the stage, trying to throw rocks through a window and at police, and setting fires on the street outside.
One officer said that a shot was fired from a pellet gun, and a second officer said it was a bullet – though subsequent reports have cast doubts over the ‘gunfire’.
Smoke canisters erupted through the streets as police tried to surround the protesters, while multiple officers are being treated for injuries and one protester has been arrested, police told Daily Mail Online.
Trump took to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning to say: ‘The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!’
Albuquerque Police locked down the convention center’s main hall, which was empty except for staff, security and reporters filing stories.
Activists outside had tried to force their way in as Trump was finishing an hour-long speech, but a line of police forced them back. One table holding a vendor’s Trump merchandise was set on fire, and protesters threw flaming t-shirts at police.
They responded with smoke canisters and pepper spray in an effort to disperse the crowd.
During the rally, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers.
The banners included the messages ‘Trump is Fascist’ and ‘We’ve heard enough.’
He responded with his usual bluster, instructing security to remove the protesters and mocking their actions by telling them to ‘Go home to mommy’.
He responded to one demonstrator by asking, ‘How old is this kid?’ He then provided his own answer: ‘Still wearing diapers.’
Trump’s supporters responded with chants of ‘Build that wall!’
Protesters outside overran barricades and clashed with police in riot gear. They also burned T-shirts and other items labeled with Trump’s catchphrase, ‘Make America Great Again.’ The scenes were reminiscent of a rally which was postponed in Chicago back in March when supporters of Trump and demonstrators clashed.
Inside the convention center, the billionaire boasted that there was ‘no safer place on earth’ than at one of his rallies.
Much of his speech was dedicated to blasting Hillary Clinton, his likely rival in the general election later this year.
He called Clinton ‘Obama-lite’ during his speech, which lasted more than an hour saying that ‘it’s hard to believe you could get lighter than Obama.’
‘Hillary can’t even put away Bernie!’ he said, referring to the scrappy Senator Bernie Sanders, who is giving her the fight of her life in the Democratic primary.