Anti-Trump Protests Gets Ugly
In one of the presidential campaign year’s more grisly spectacles, protesters in New Mexico opposing Donald Trump’s candidacy threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled trash cans and barricades.
Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Center.
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.”
Trump lashed back at protesters, tweeting Wednesday: “The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!”
At one point, a female protester was physically dragged from the stands by security. Other protesters scuffled with security as they resisted removal from the convention center, which was packed with thousands of loud and cheering Trump supporters.
Trump responded by telling the protesters to “Go home to mommy” as they were being dragged out by security guards.
Trump’s supporters responded with chants of “Build that wall!”
Trump later tweeted “Great rally in New Mexico, amazing crowd!”
The altercations left glass at the entrance of the convention center smashed.
Albuquerque attorney Doug Antoon said rocks were flying through the convention center windows as he was leaving Tuesday night. Glass was breaking and landing near his feet.
“This was not a protest, this was a riot. These are hate groups,” he said of the demonstrators.
Albuquerque police said several officers were treated for injuries after getting hit by rocks thrown by protesters. At least one person was arrested from the riot, police said.
During the rally, 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.”
Tuesday marked Trump’s first stop in New Mexico, the nation’s most Hispanic state. Gov. Susana Martinez, head of the Republican Governors Association and the nation’s only Latina governor, has harshly criticized his remarks on immigrants and has attacked his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The governor did not attend the rally and has yet to make an endorsement.