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The protester who was beaten at Donald Trump's rally is telling his side of the story

At least one person was seen punching the man and another kicking him while he was down.

AN ACTIVIST WHO was reportedly beaten and choked after protesting at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, last Saturday is now speaking out about the incident.

The activist, Mercutio Southall, gave separate interviews to AL.com, CNN, and ThinkProgress about the incident in recent days.

When Southall arrived at the rally with several other activists, he says, attendees kept a distance of “6 feet space on either side of us”.

“The message was: This was not our town. This was not our place,” Southall told ThinkProgress.

The incident, which was partially captured on video, occurred after Southall was narrating his protest at the rally to another activist who was recording. Speaking to the camera, Southall indicated that he wanted to show Trump that the Republican presidential candidate was “not welcome here”.

When someone knocked the recording phone out of the protester’s hand, Southall and two others began chanting “black lives matter”. Rally attendees then started shouting back, according to Southall.

“They said, ‘Go home, n—–, and somebody punched me,” Southall told AL.com.

“I punched back.”

Soon enough, people were piling on top of him, punching and kicking. After he freed himself from some of the struggle, he says, “Somebody got behind me and started trying to choke me out”.

“They called me n—–, monkey, and they shouted ‘all lives matter’ while they were kicking and punching me,” he added.

GOP 2016 Trump Source: Associated Press

Shortly after, rally attendees tackled Southall to the ground. At least one person was seen punching him and another kicking him while he was down, according to CNN.

Trump commented on the incident on stage, saying, “Get him the hell out of here, will you please?” according to The Washington Post. Southall and two other protesters were then removed from the event.

Trump drew controversy when he remarked on the incident in an interview on ‘Fox & Friends’.

“Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said.

Southall, who estimates he has been shot with a stun gun about 30 times and has been arrested more than once during his activism, is well known in Alabama protest circles. The activist rhetorically asked AL.com, “Is it me? Every time I go somewhere, they’re trying to beat me or tase me or kill me”.

“He was so obnoxious and so loud,” Trump said.

“He was screaming. I had 10,000 people in the room yesterday — 10,000 people. And this guy started screaming by himself.”

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Source: CNN/YouTube

While Trump’s campaign told CNN it did not condone the violent reaction to Southall’s protest, Trump referred to Southall as “looking to make trouble,” a sentiment seemingly mirrored by Lt. Sean Edwards of the Birmingham police.

“I would be a little cautious with Mercutio Southall,” Edwards has reportedly said.

“He has been an agitator from day one. Mercutio is always the agitator. The majority of the department knows who he is, and he knows how to reach us.”

In the past, Southall told AL.com that he did not try to get arrested, but he added, “What can black people do without getting persecuted or killed?”

The attendees seen attacking Southall in the video will not face charges, nor will Southall or the other two protesters.

As for why Southall chose to protest the event, Southall cited Alabama’s history in the battle for civil rights.

“This is a city where some of the biggest battles of the civil rights movement happened.”

Southall also said the things Trump had “been saying about black people, Latino people, immigrants, refugees — we felt it was very disrespectful”.

- Dan Turkel for Business Insider

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