A crowd of protesters took to the streets outside a Donald Trump presidential campaign event in southern California, ending with scattered violence and at least seventeen arrests.
The demonstrations began as Trump addressed a crowd of thousands of supporters at Costa Mesa’s OC Fair & Event Center, in mostly conservative Orange County. Several there told reporters that they were protesting Trump’s stance on immigration:
“I’m protesting because I want equal rights for everybody, and I want peaceful protest,” said 19-year-old Daniel Lujan, one of hundreds in a crowd that appeared to be mostly Latinos in their late teens and 20s.
“I knew this was going to happen,” Lujan added. “It was going to be a riot. He deserves what he gets.”
Video footage showed some anti-Trump demonstrators hurling debris at a passing pickup truck. One group of protesters carried benches and blocked the entrance to the 55 Freeway along Newport Boulevard, with some tossing rocks at motorists near the on-ramp.
Several people destroyed a police car, jumping on it and kicking out the windows, as Trump supporters chanted, “Build that wall!” There were also scuffles in the crowd:
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) April 29, 2016
The Orange County Register reported that at least five people were also pepper-sprayed at Trump’s first major California event in months:
The tensions may be an early sign of what’s ahead for California in the weeks leading up to the June 7 primary, as Trump shifts his attention to the state that could prove the most crucial yet in his drive to be the Republican standard bearer.
“No state has suffered more from open borders than the state of California,” Trump told the crowd.
California’s delegate count potentially decides whether Trump advances to the nomination ahead of July’s convention.