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Protests and violence at Trump rallies raise eyebrows

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Stefan Lembo-Stolba

March 23, 2016


The protest that blocked a highway outside of an Arizona rally held by Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is just one of many instances of anti-Trump activists assembling throughout the nation.  

The rally on March 20 was merely one example of the violence and unrest found at the frontrunners speeches’ in the past several weeks. The rally was met with dozens of protesters who parked their cars sideways on an approaching highway, forcing oncoming-traffic to halt or move around them. The blockade backed traffic up for miles and resulted in three protester arrests and two cars being towed, according to a report by CNN.

Later that Saturday, Bryan Sanders, 33, a protester carrying a sign that read “Trump is bad for America,” was punched and kicked by a Trump supporter while being led out of a Tucson rally by security staff.

In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, Sanders, an Independent, explained he was at the rally to protest Trump’s “fascism” and made it clear he would do whatever it took to oppose his presidency.

We’re going to stop this. This is not going to continue,” he said to the Star. “If it takes somebody getting punched in the face, that’s what it takes. No problem.”

Tucson’s rally was not the first in which anti-Trump protesters and Trump supporters clashed. Violence at an earlier rally in Chicago forced Trump to cancel his appearance before the event began.

Trump canceled his Chicago rally after meeting with police and determining “that for the safety of all of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed to another date.”

The cancellation of his appearance did not prevent violence as the clash between Trump protesters and supporters resulted in five arrests and more than three injuries, according to a report by The New York Times.

The violence in Chicago set the tone for more recent Trump rallies and has resulted in the mobilization of anti-Trump protesters throughout the nation. Groups of protesters have faced off with groups of staunch supporters in a battle that is painting the picture of one of the most bombastic and polarized elections to date.

The recent bi-partisan rage at Trump events raises concerns over the new patterns of violence being created within the candidate’s campaign. Trump’s responses have varied since the violent events in Chicago, and he most recently referred to the protesters as “professional agitators.”  

If Trump maintains his lead in the primaries, his name is on the fast track for the GOP ticket. Increased anger, both inside and outside Trump’s campaign, worries the candidate who claims “bad things will happen” if he doesn’t amass the delegates necessary for election.

“I think you’d have riots,” Trump said. “I think you’d have problems like you’ve never seen before.”


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