Hundreds of protesters rioted in the street outside the amphitheater in Orange County, California, where Donald Trump held a massive rally Thursday night. Described by the L.A. Times as a “boisterous crowd,” they stomped on cars, threw rocks at motorists, smashed the window of at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and even tried to flip a police car — all to express their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.
About five police cars were damaged in total, police said, adding that some will require thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.
“Dump the Trump,” one sign read. Another protester scrawled anti-Trump messages on Costa Mesa police cars.
“I’m protesting because I want equal rights for everybody, and I want peaceful protest,” said 19-year-old Daniel Lujan, one of hundreds in a crowd that appeared to be mostly Latinos in their late teens and 20s.
Yet when the protest turned violent, “peaceful protester” Lujan seemed to be delighted: “I knew this was going to happen,” he said. “It was going to be a riot. He deserves what he gets.”
Video footage showed some anti-Trump demonstrators hurling debris at a passing pickup truck. One group of protesters carried benches and blocked the entrance to the 55 Freeway along Newport Boulevard, with some tossing rocks at motorists near the on-ramp.
A throng of Trump supporters outside of the amphitheater faced off with the protesters.
One man waved a “Gays for Trump” sign while other supporters swapped high-fives as they carried homemade signs reading, “Latinos for Trump.” Another sign said, “Black Christian Women for Trump.”
In the crowd was Brent Fisher, 65, a retired carpenter, who drove from Apple Valley to attend the rally and hear the Republican presidential candidate speak.
“I love Trump,” Fisher said. “He’ll stand up and fight and do the things he’s talking about.”
William Pages, 19, agreed, praising the candidate as an energetic outsider who “says what needs to be said.”
The AP described the protest as “mostly peaceful” but went on to report that one Trump supporter “had his face bloodied in a scuffle as he tried to drive out of the arena.”
Dozens of cars — including those of Trump supporters trying to leave — were stuck in the street as several hundred demonstrators blocked the road, waved Mexican flags and posed for selfies. Some protesters badgered Trump’s fans as they walked to their cars in the parking lot.
“We could be peaceful and do things different, she said. “But if we did, we wouldn’t get our voice heard.”
There were seventeen arrests.
Here’s video of the motorist doing donuts around the protesters: