Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona on Saturday turned into a spectacle as protesters interrupted the event, leading to a violent clash in which a protester was kicked and punched as he was being escorted out.
At Trump’s rally in Tuscon, a man wearing an American flag shirt held up a sign with Trump’s face and the words “Bad for America.” Video from Donald Trump’s Arizona rally, which can be seen below, showed supporters pulling the man to the ground, where he was punched and kicked several times.
The video also showed a protester wearing a white hood and delivering what appeared to be a Nazi salute, NBC News noted.
“They’re taking away our First Amendment rights. They’re troublemakers, they’re no good, and we have to be careful,” Trump said. “We’ve gotta take our country back, folks. We gotta take our country back, very simple.”
Protesters had promised to show up to Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona, but leading up to the event they had stressed the need to remain civil. As NBC News reported, the groups and protest leaders said they wanted to refrain from violence.
“Alejandra Gomez, co-director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), a Latino-led workers rights organization, said anyone who’s planning to protest at Trump’s events in Arizona this weekend is being advised to remain nonviolent.
“‘We’re trying to make it clear that we’re not going there to entice violence,’ she said. ‘We’re going there to protest and say that Trump politics are not welcomed here.’
“Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said he’s encouraging people not to protest ‘because I believe Donald Trump feeds off these protests.’ Instead of protesting, he said people should dedicate their time and energy registering people to vote in areas such as Maryvale, Glendale, and South Phoenix, where there’s a significant number of Latino eligible voters.”
The events scheduled for Saturday came amid growing tension surrounding Donald Trump’s rallies. Last week there were violent clashes at a planned Trump rally in Chicago, forcing the Republican frontrunner to cancel the event, and at another rally a Trump supporter punched a black protester who was being escorted out.
In the days after the violent clash at Donald Trump’s Chicago rally, many of Trump’s opponents blamed him for inciting protesters with his violent rhetoric. Trump often goaded his crowd, telling them that in the past protesters would have been “roughed up” and joking that he would pay legal fees if a supporter ended up hurting a protester.
“America is better than this. We don’t have to tear each other apart,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said. “When you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse.”
The rally on Saturday in Phoenix had the added tension of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff who had endorsed Trump and pledged to offer security at the rally.
“Here I’m gonna be kinda wearing two hats — in charge of the security there in the town and also participating, I would imagine, with Trump in the rally, so it makes it interesting,” Arpaio told Politico on Friday, adding that it “is going to be a lot of fun taking care of business there.”
Fully video of Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona and the protests can be seen below.
After the protesters interrupted Donald Trump’s rally in Tuscon, the GOP frontrunner took notice and referred to them as “bad people,” saying they were not really protesters but instead “agitators.”
[Picture by Ralph Freso/Getty Images]