Thursday, May 26, 2016

Anaheim Police Arrest and Injure Anti-Donald Trump Protesters
Anaheim police arrest a protester at the latest rally against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. | Photo: Naui Ocelotl Huitzilopochtli

One activist told teleSUR said he heard Trump supporters call Mexicans "criminals" and "illegals" before police threw him out of the rally.

Donald Trump supporters celebrated the outsized presence of riot police in Anaheim at the latest Trump rally to attract protesters, several of them beaten and arrested.

Naui Ocelotl Huitzilopochtli, an indigenous rights activist, told teleSUR his hand is still swollen after being assaulted and kicked out by about 20 officers that followed him to the bathroom, even though he had a ticket to the event.

He said it was the second Trump rally he has been kicked out of; he was able to stay about an hour until Minutemen—a volunteer militia that patrols the U.S.-Mexico border—recognized and reported him. He estimated several hundred people attended the protest.

Police in Anaheim are notorious for their violent tactics: ABC7 News photographed a child pepper sprayed in an April Trump protest. They warned earlier on Wednesday that they would take “swift and decisive enforcement action” if demonstrators got out of hand. The arrests come a day after violence broke out at an event for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in New Mexico.

Videos of protesters throwing stones are circulating on social media, with police seen decked out in riot gear arresting at least three people and slamming protesters to the ground. Trump supporters praised the police for their violent tactics.

Huitzilopochtli said that while he was at the rally, he repeatedly heard supporters call Mexicans "criminals" and "illegal."

"Every time they saw person of color supporting Trump, they said, 'See, we’re not racist,'" he said in an interview with teleSUR.

Trump's appearances in the U.S. west in areas with significant Latino populations have drawn large protests because of, among other issues, his remarks that Mexico is sending criminals and rapists to the United States.

Trump's problems with Latino communities could dampen his Nov. 8 election hopes. A poll by the political research group Latino Decisions found 87 percent of registered Hispanic voters view Trump unfavorably and states like Nevada and New Mexico have growing Hispanic populations that could tip the election.

California and New Mexico both hold primary elections on June 7. On Tuesday night, hundreds of protesters tried to swarm the convention center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the Republican candidate spoke, knocking down barricades, waving Mexican flags and hurling rocks and bottles at police officers in riot gear. Police responded with smoke bombs and pepper spray.

Police said they made arrests both outside and inside the rally, where protesters continually interrupted the billionaire New York developer's speech. The police department's Twitter feed said officers were treated for injuries caused by thrown rocks.

Trump Calls Protesters 'Thugs'

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Trump called the protesters "thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!" he said.

Trump began his speech at 3:00 p.m. local time in Anaheim, a city about 25 miles (40 km) from Los Angeles. At the city's 7,500-seat convention center, authorities boosted staffing levels, deployed officers on motorcycles to control traffic and urged attendees to be on their best behavior, Anaheim Police Sergeant Daron Wyatt said.

Clashes between Trump's fervent supporters and rowdy protesters have marked many of his campaign appearances. The violence could prove a hindrance to his efforts to mend divisions within the Republican Party and reach a broader section of the American electorate ahead of the Nov. 8 election in which he is likely to face Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Cleanup begins after downtown Albuquerque riot Web Staff
Updated: 05/25/2016 9:10 PM

Albuquerque leaders and national politicos are condemning a group of rowdy protesters who rioted outside the Donald Trump rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center Tuesday night.

Protests organized by local progressive groups started peacefully Tuesday afternoon, but toward the end of the night—long after Trump had left New Mexico—Albuquerque police said those left were just out causing trouble.

People threw rocks at police officers and APD horses, jumped on police cars and set fire to clothing as officers in riot gear deployed smoke grenades to disperse the crowd.

Albuquerque police tweeted that several officers were treated for injuries, and at least one person was arrested during the riot.

New Mexico State Police said one of their officers was struck with a broomstick but only had minor injuries. Several officers also rescued two people who were beaten during a fight.

Two of NMSP's patrol units also suffered hood damage during the disturbance.

Wednesday morning, cleanup crews boarded up a broken window at the convention center and gathered signs left behind after the protest.

City Council President Dan Lewis released a statement overnight denouncing the rioters, saying it was a dark day for the First Amendment in Albuquerque.

"The violence that we're seeing this evening is absolutely unacceptable, and it is not the fault of Donald Trump, his campaign, or the attendees at the rally this evening," Lewis said. "…This was not a protest – it was a riot that was the result of a mob trying to cause damage and injury to public property and innocent citizens exercising their constitutional right to peacefully assemble."

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry thanked the protesters who participated peacefully but said the city will work "diligently" to hold the rioters accountable.

"The freedom to support the candidate of your choice and to protest is a sacred first amendment (sic) right granted to all Americans. When civil protests are interrupted by those who turn to violence, we are fortunate to have our first responders there to protect our community and all those who participate in our American democracy," Berry said in a statement.

City Council President Dan Lewis, a Republican, released a statement pointing fingers at who he thinks is responsible.

"It is directly the result of so called public interest groups, such as ProgessNM and the Southwest Organizing Project, fomenting hate," Lewis said in a statement Wednesday.

Both organizations condemned councilor Lewis’s accusations.

George Lujan, with the Southwest Organizing Project, says his members were actually helping keep the peace.

"Councilor Lewis, I feel that he should be ashamed of himself for showing a total lack of leadership. Community groups had to step in to keep people safe," said Lujan.

Progress Now New Mexico also responded to Lewis's statement, saying, "Our event was scheduled with organizers and APD and concluded several hours before and blocks away from those incidents."

Councilor Ken Sanchez released a statement saying, "The violence that erupted last night was not the result of peaceful protests by local community action groups, but rather was the result of incitement by a small but organized group of trouble makers whose sole intent was to act out."

Mayor Richard J. Berry released a statement: "We will work diligently to hold accountable those few individuals who came to perpetrate violence, endanger others and damage property," he said.

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