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06/03/2016 / By Peter Mackowiak
Donald Trump supporters leaving the presidential candidate’s rally in San Jose were pounced by protesters, some of whom threw punches and eggs. Though no injuries were reported, a dozen or more people were hit and car windows were broken, and local media reported several people were seen with bloody wounds.
At least one woman was pelted with an egg.
The clash between several hundred demonstrators and Trump supporters occurred while police dressed in riot gear formed lines to try to keep the two sides apart.
Protesters jumped on cars and threw traffic cones and water bottles at police. Others snatched hats with Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” from his supporters and set the items on fire, begging the question whether the protesters don’t want America to be great again.
Four people were taken into custody, according to the AP, but police had not released final numbers as of late Thursday night.
Police stood their ground at first but after about 90 minutes moved into the remaining crowd to break it up and make arrests.
The crowd, which numbered more than 300 just after the rally, thinned significantly as the night went on, but those that remained near the San Jose Convention Center were rowdy and angry.
In the hours leading up to Trump’s speech, protesters and Trump supporters verbally sparred in the street outside the San Jose convention center. But while heated, those exchanges remained relatively civil.
As protesters’ ranks swelled from a few dozen to several hundred, they became increasingly hostile, jeering Trump supporters trickling into the event behind a wall of police.
But it wasn’t until supporters began leaving the rally that things turned ugly. Trump backers, safe behind the police, tossed taunts back at the raucous protesters, unaware that the line of officers ended only a few yards away — leaving them directly exposed.
Among the supporters taunting the protesters was the woman who would eventually be cornered by the angry mob. Pinned against the doors of the Marriott hotel next to the convention center, she became the focal point of the crowd’s anger. Protesters hurled obscenities, spit on her, and ultimately began egging her.
Although hotel staff eventually rescued her, police never stepped in — a decision that clearly emboldened protesters, who took to the streets, marching, burning flags, and chanting “Fuck Trump!”
Within minutes of the rally’s end, the bulk of the crowd spilled into the streets of downtown San Jose, mixing in with protesters and creating a volatile situation. Fights between Trump supporters and protesters began to break out almost immediately.
In at least two instances Trump supporters engaged with protesters, chanting “Donald Trump” and walking directly into the thickest, angriest portions of the protests. But things quickly spiraled, and rallygoers simply trying to get back to their cars were chased down and beaten — often at the feet of San Jose Police, who stood by motionless.
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