Despite Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s best efforts in Fountain Hills, Arizona, protests erupted both in and outside of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s Saturday rally just outside of Phoenix. Thousands of miles away in downtown Manhattan, hundreds of people marched from Columbus Circle near Central Park to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Or at least they tried to before repeated scuffles with local police led to violence, several arrests and repeated attempts to regroup the protest.
According to CNN, dozens of people carrying anti-Trump signs and shouting political slogans in defiance of the New York real estate mogul’s winning campaign for the Republican presidential nomination parked several cars along Shea Boulevard to block traffic into the area. The road, which Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joaquin Enriquez said serves “as the main artery into the area,” was the primary means of access for rally attendees — hence why protesters targeted it before and during Trump’s rally in Fountain Hills.
The blockade backed traffic up for miles along the route, forcing motorists to put their cars in park and wait things out. Some of these stranded drivers were Trump supporters, and since they really wanted to attend the rally, many abandoned their cars and walked for miles in the Arizona sun to reach the venue.
Eventually three protesters were arrested and two of the cars used to block Shea were towed from their spots to allow traffic to pass, according to Enriquez. The officer stressed to CNN that the arrests were due to their block the roadway and not because of their anti-Trump beliefs or political affiliations.
Clear on the other side of the country, another protest began with the sole purpose of marching on Trump Tower in Manhattan. The local CBS affiliate reported that what began as a crowd of hundreds grew into thousands of people, many armed with signs, costumes and other decorative ephemera. According to several protest leaders and attendees affiliated with the Cosmopolitan Antifascists, the group supposedly responsible for the march, the plan was to start in Columbus Circle and walk all the way to Trump tower.
“We’re here because Donald Trump is the antithesis of what America stands for,” one Westchester man said.
“We gotta make sure we get out and vote and make sure our voices are heard,” another protester from Manhattan said.
Many other groups were a part of the protest, and with their coordination and numbers the event was intended to be a peaceful one. However, several small scuffles between local police and some of the protesters resulted in several skirmishes, pepper sprayings and arrests. The Daily Beast reporter Gideon Resnick followed the proceedings with dozens of other reporters and live tweeted everything as it happened.
Once the march left Central Park and began edging closer into Manhattan, that’s when the first violent encounters between police and protesters began to happen.
Per Resnick, CNN, CBS and other reporters on the scene, several demonstrators were in fact pepper sprayed and arrested. However, as of this writing, precise numbers are unknown.