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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Donald Trump, meet the protesters of Tucson

The Tucson Convention Center was inundated with Trump supporters and protesters this afternoon as Donald Trump visited Tucson for a final rally before the March 22 Arizona primary.

This was Trump’s second rally in Arizona today, which followed his appearance in Fountain Hills this morning. Protesters at that event barricaded Shea Boulevard, backing up traffic for miles until police eventually arrested three protesters and cleared demonstrators out of the road. 

Protesters in Tucson arrived just after 2 p.m. and clogged the entrance of the event, forcing Trump supporters to filter in to the venue through a narrow passage that was barricaded by the Tucson Police Department. 

“Trump is a racist, and so are his supporters,” protesters chanted, as people filtered in to the building. 

While one of Trump’s largest platforms is improving the state of the American economy, many of the protesters were there because of his apparent flagrant disregard for what they called the “social economy.”

“It’s really quite dangerous what he’s doing,” said Nick Molinary, a protester at the entrance of the arena who was helping to hold a large American flag. “And I think if people don’t stand up against it and allow it to fester, allow it to gain confidence — the kind of Islamophobia, the easy answers that he’s providing to just find a scapegoat — it’s going to continue to grow. It’s going to push the country and the world in a much more dangerous direction.” 

Even with the throng of protesters crowding out the entrance to the TCC arena, Trump’s supporters continued to line up outside the arena doors. 

Trump claimed during his speech that there were as many as 2,500 people still trying to filter through the line as he spoke. He blamed the protesters for the slow security screening process at the doors.

Karl Holland, a late arriving Trump supporter, was one of the people who had to filter through the protesters, police and secret service crowding the area around the arena doors to get inside the arena. 

He said that he was expecting to see protesters at the rally because he saw the protests at Trump’s Utah rally in the news.

“I think it’s interesting, people gathering for a good cause in each direction,” he said, gesturing in the direction of the protesters chanting just feet away. 

Holland added that the protesters have just as much of a right as the Trump supporters to be there, but both sides need to respect the boundaries of the other.

Protesters made their way in to the venue as well. As many as five separate groups were removed from the event, some were removed less peacefully than others — one protester was repeatedly punched and kicked by a Trump supporter as he was escorted from the venue. 

In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, Bryan Sanders, the protester who was assaulted, said that he was sucker punched after a man ripped the sign he was holding out of his hands. 

“We’re going to stop this. This isn’t going to continue,” Sanders told the Star. “If it takes someone getting punched in the face, that’s what it takes.”

Trump’s rally began with a message to supporters of “how to deal with protesters,” telling them to not interact with a demonstrator but rather chant Trump’s name over and over to alert security. 

As protesters chanted and repeatedly interrupted his usual stump speech, he repeatedly told members of the audience that the “love” in the room would drown them out. 

Eventually, however, Trump’s patience apparently ran out. After a handful of outbursts by protesters in the audience he eventually yelled “get them out of here,” in to the mic. Waving his hand and gesturing towards a few protesters who had begun chanting immediately in the crowd immediately in front of the podium.  


Follow Sam Gross on Twitter.


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