Thousands of people flocked to downtown San Jose on Thursday to hear Donald Trump rail against his presumptive Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and vow to win California’s primary election next Tuesday.
A crowd of about 5,000 packed the San Jose Convention Center’s blue-and-white South Hall for the Republican presidential nominee’s “Make America Great Again” rally.
San Jose police blocked off streets in downtown and summoned support from neighboring law enforcement agencies to brace for expected clashes between Trump fans and protestors. According to reports, one officer was assaulted. A Trump supporter got egged in the face. Another got sucker-punched.
Dozens of other clashes broke out amid tensions stoked by Trump’s nativist message being broadcast in one of the most left-leaning, immigrant-populated enclaves in the nation. As people streamed out of the Convention Center, Trump supporters were seen taunting protestors along the way. Others struck up civil conversation with people holding up signs endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Street vendors sold Mexican flags across from booths hawking Trump pins, shirts and the campaign’s ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” snapbacks. Trump supporters shouted at protesters to “Go back to Mexico” or “Go back where you came from.”
Inside the tent, Trump—clad in a navy-blue suit and red tie—all but ignored tech and economic issues. Instead, he zeroed in on Clinton, likening the former Secretary of State to Sominex, a sleeping pill, and calling her foreign policy message earlier that day a snooze-fest.
A few protestors mingled with the audience, but got bullied out of the crowd by finger-pointing and shouts. Unlike at past events, however, Trump urged the crowd to let them stay.
Police said they made “a few” arrests after the rally, but are expected to provide more details this morning. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo commended police and condemned Trump.
“San Jose police officers performed admirably and professionally to contain acts of violence and protect individuals’ rights to assemble, protest and express their political views,” he wrote in a statement. “While it’s a sad statement about our political discourse that Mr. Trump has focused on stirring antagonism instead of offering real solutions to our nation’s challenges, there is absolutely no place for violence against people who are simply exercising their rights to participate in the political process.”
San Jose's police union denounced the violence and asked the public to help them identify lawbreakers who instigated it.
“I'm disgusted by the violent attacks yesterday that have no place in our society or our political process,” Paul Kelly, president San Jose Police Officers' Association, said in a statement Friday.
He urged anyone with video of criminal activity to share it with the San Jose Police Department so people who broke the law could be identified and prosecuted.
“Our community must band together against those who would soil our first amendment freedoms and bring to justice those that chose to act like cowards,” POA Vice President James Gonzales added.
Below is a photo gallery from photographer Greg Ramar. Also see videos of Donald Trump’s rally and clashes outside the Convention Center. Check back later for more coverage of the event.
A woman included in our photographs was pelted with eggs:
Donald Trump talks about support from Latinos and Hispanics before confusing the Golden State Warriors for “San Francisco.”
A Trump supporter is hit from behind.
A protest near the end of the night by a VTA Light Rail station.