THOUSANDS OF PRO and anti-Donald Trump demonstrators faced off last night outside a rally for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in San Diego.
Authorities said 35 people were arrested, including one for trying to climb over a railing, but there was no major violence or mass arrests as at Trump rallies in other cities.
Following the real-estate magnate’s speech inside the city’s convention center, police ordered the crowd to disperse, judging it an unlawful assembly. But many demonstrators from both camps refused to leave hours after the event was over.
Skirmishes erupted as both sides jeered and heckled each other, with some protesters throwing water bottles and rocks.
One pro-Trump demonstrator was seen using pepper spray against another demonstrator.
Dozens of police officers in riot gear and carrying batons stood between the two groups and at one point moved in to force the crowd to leave the area around the convention center.
One anti-Trump supporter who apparently refused to heed police calls to clear the area was seen being tackled to the ground before being handcuffed and dragged away.
Authorities in San Diego earlier designated separate demonstration zones for the two sides to prevent them mixing.
Protests in New Mexico turned violent last Tuesday, prompting fears of a similar outbreak of violence at Trump’s campaign appearances in California this week.
“I am opposed to the hateful, bigoted, racist language of Donald Trump and his arrogance and intolerance,” Martha McPhail, one of the protesters in San Diego, told the local City News Service (CNS). “I’m for all of our people – all races, sexes, genders, military veterans – and he’s divisive.”
Riley Hansen, a 19-year-old Trump supporter who was selling T-shirts of the candidate, said it was time America voted for a businessman.
“My dad always told me you need a businessman as president,” he told CNS. “I like his policies.”
Earlier yesterday hundreds of demonstrators had also gathered at another Trump campaign appearance in Fresno, in central California, during which the bombastic candidate reiterated his vow to build a wall to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the United States from Mexico.
News reports said two women were arrested after refusing to leave the area following the rally.
Trump is arguably one of the most divisive politicians in recent American history and his rhetoric against hispanics, women, Muslims and others has prompted widespread outrage.