Hundreds turned out to demonstrate Thursday night for a Donald Trump rally in Costa Mesa, Calif. The counter-protest quickly turned violent, with protestors throwing objects at passing motorists and damaging police cars.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department told The Los Angeles Times that 17 people were arrested, and mentioned in a tweet that no major injuries were reported. At least one image posted to Twitter shows the bloodied face of a Trump supporter.
Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car… 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.
Many of the protesters, the Times notes, were young Latinos. Daniel Lujan, 19, told the Times, "I'm protesting because I want equal rights for everybody, and I want peaceful protest," adding, "I knew this was going to happen…it was going to be a riot. He deserves what he gets."
Police told the Times that damage to about five police cars will cost thousands of dollars to repair. Videos and images posted to social media show a chaotic scene of people being arrested…
and smashing car windows:
People were burning tires…
and blocking the freeway:
Some were nearly run over:
Last night was far from the first time a Trump event has turned violent: The Huffington Post noted earlier this month that at least 10 Trump rallies have resulted in arrests and reports of violence.
But local news outlet KTLA reported that Thursday's nights demonstration could be a sign of things to come in California specifically, explaining that "the protests outside Donald Trump's rally in Costa Mesa on Thursday night appear to point to an upcoming month of activism by Latinos and others as the GOP front-runner tries to seal the presidential nomination in the state."
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.