Violence Erupts At An Anti-Donald Trump Protest In California

While Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of 31,000 people in a venue with a maximum capacity of 8,500, hundreds of angry demonstrators gathered outside the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California on Thursday night. However, what began as a peaceful gathering against the GOP front-runner quickly turned into a violent protest against the New York real estate mogul. Those in attendance left the space in front of the amphitheater and filtered onto the main roadway, chanting anti-Trump slogans and, once local police came to disperse the crowd, smashing cars and confronting Trump supporters.

According to a 19-year-old protester interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, he was there because he wanted a “peaceful protest” and “[wanted] equal rights for everybody.” However, as the young demonstrator later confessed, he “knew [the violence] was going to happen” because Trump “deserves what he gets.”

Violence was precisely what Trump and supporters willing to confront the rioters got. Reporters from the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County RegisterCNN and several other outlets documented everything from donuts and smashed police cars, to fist fights and arrests. Like the video above, in which a Mazda Miata did donuts in a major intersection while surrounded by protesters and police. According to the person behind the camera, dozens of protesters tried to stop the Miata before the police arrived and fired several warning shots at the vehicle. That’s when the car stopped spinning and fled the scene.

Police in riot gear ventured out into the crowds, broadcasting orders for them to disperse. So the more violent demonstrators among them responded.

Meanwhile, as rally attendees began to leave the venue, they found the exits blocked by the surging group outside. It didn’t take long for several potentially — and actually — violent confrontations to unfold.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, around 20 individuals were arrested throughout the night. However, there were no major injuries and the protesters were dispersed by 11 p.m. local time.

The Los Angeles Times later clarified that 17 people — 7 women and 10 men — were arrested.

Or as reporter Matt Pearce put it:

(Via Orange County RegisterLos Angeles Times and CNN)