Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump’s Wednesday campaign rally was disrupted by an an apparent fight breaking out between supporters and hecklers of the candidate.
CNN’s Sara Murray reported that roughly a dozen protesters started chanting at Trump’s Richmond, Virginia, event when the Republican front-runner started talking about his plans to build a giant wall along the US-Mexican border.
“His supporters in the crowd and the protesters who then clashed. At one point, things turned physical. At another point, there was actually a Trump supporter who spit in the face of one of the protesters,” Murray said on air.
“Protests happen at political events. This is not abnormal,” she added as a word of caution. “I think what was abnormal was the level of aggression, the level of vitriol we saw.”
For his part, Trump urged his supporters to respect the hecklers’ “freedom of speech” while condemning the “disgusting” press for their future reports focusing on the protesters instead of his thousands of fans there to hear him speak.
WBAL-TV, a Baltimore-based NBC affiliate, further reported that there were “nearly 20” protesters who were chanting things like “Dump Trump” for more than 10 minutes before they “were escorted out by a combination of Trump campaign and event staff, as well as several police officers.”
“At least one female protester was physically forced out of the event hall by a police officer after she got into a physical altercation with another woman at the event,” the report continued. “But several of his supporters quickly became agitated, shouting, ‘Go back to Mexico,’ as some of the protesters were escorted out. Another Trump supporter began hurling obscenities at two of the protesters.”
Daniel Reilly, a spectator at the event, described the incident to WTVR-TV, a Richmond-based CBS affiliate.
“They brought another gentleman down the aisle toward us and he got in a confrontation with that same gentleman,” Reilly said. “And the gentleman who was screaming, ‘Go back where you came from,’ spit in this man’s face, and it got a little crazy from there.”
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