Protests at a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tuesday night turned violent, with angry demonstrators reportedly hurling rocks and bottles at police officers, setting fires, and shattering a glass door. Footage from the scene posted to social media shows police appearing to use pepper spray on crowds, and on at least one occasion push a woman to the ground.
NBC News reports that earlier on Tuesday, anti-Trump demonstrators were peaceful:
Demonstrations were mainly peaceful earlier in the evening. Some people played drums, others held signs and shouted slogans, and a group with a megaphone played an anti-Trump rap song. Some chanted "walk of shame!" as people entered the venue.
The Washington Post estimated that largely 1,000 peaceful protesters gathered outside the Albuquerque Convention Center, where Trump addressed a 4,000-person crowd at the start of the evening.
But as the night progressed, and once Trump's event had concluded, things apparently got out of hand. According to ABC News affiliate KOAT, about 100 people forced their way through police barricades.
Reporters and bystanders captured images and video documenting the destruction. Protesters jeered Trump and burned his merchandise:
The glass door of the convention center were smashed:
Protesters tried to break into the venue, while screaming, "Fuck you, Trump!"
Officers on horses stood off against protesters:
…who were getting violent:
And while some praised officers for exhibiting restraint:
Others pointed out that in some instances, police used undue violence against protesters. Video shows a police officer appearing to blast a woman with pepper spray before violently pushing her to the ground.
On Twitter, the Albuquerque Police Department wrote that at least one person was arrested and that several officers were injured at what they refer to as a "riot."
In a statement, Albuquerque City Council President Dan Lewis agreed. "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 peaceably assemble."
Police added that tear spray was not used, and that gunshots were not fired during the chaotic incident:
According to CNN, protesters interrupted Trump from inside the rally, as well:
A group of a dozen protesters in the grandstands around the stage where Trump spoke unfurled banners that read "Undocumented Unafraid" and "We've heard enough." Another banner accused Trump of being a fascist. At one point, a woman in what appeared to be a bra was throwing fake money in the air in the stands behind Trump. She was eventually escorted out by police and security.
As NBC News reported, Dan Scavino, a senior advisor for the Trump campaign, used racially-coded language to refer to protesters, calling them "thugs" and "punks."
The violent scene in Albuquerque recalled earlier anti-Trump protests: Police clashed with anti-Trump protesters in Chicago in March and in Costa Mesa, Calif., last month. Tuesday marked the first time the presumptive GOP nominee for president made a stop in New Mexico, the state with the highest percentage of Hispanic people.
Protesters told reporters they came out to take a stand against Trump's hateful comments. Matthew Vargas, 24, told the Washington Post that "we don’t like what Trump wants to bring to our country."
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.