News & Politics

Protesters Block Road to Trump Rally in Arizona

Police officers block protestors from the entrance of a building where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a campaign rally Friday, March 18, 2016, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Protestors outside of Fountainhead Hills, Ariz., parked their cars sideways and chained themselves to their vehicles in order to block the main road to a Donald Trump rally on Saturday.

CNN:

The protesters in Arizona parked vehicles sideways on Shea Boulevard, blocking both lanes of traffic into Fountain Hills, Arizona, where Trump was scheduled to hold a rally Saturday afternoon, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joaquin Enriquez told CNN.

Enriquez described Shea Boulevard as the main artery into the area and the protesters’ actions were causing motorists to drive into oncoming traffic as they tried to get around them. Traffic was backed up for miles due to the blockage.

“This is causing huge issues for us,” Enriquez told CNN. He added, “We obviously have to get this road open.”

Enriquez later told CNN that three protesters were arrested and two cars were towed from the boulevard. The deputy emphasized that they arrests were due to protesters blocking the roadway, not because of the protest itself.

Protests at Trump rallies increasingly have become more contentious in recent days. Friday night, protesters outside a Trump rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, tried to breach the venue’s doors, causing police officers and Secret Service officers to abruptly shut them as Trump was speaking. And last week, scuffles between protesters and supporters in Chicago led Trump to cancel a rally there.

Trump on Saturday is set to appear with Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who endorsed the GOP front-runner in January. Arpaio rose to conservative fame with his aggressive roundups of undocumented immigrants and attention-grabbing tactics like clothing inmates in pink underwear.

Speaking to CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield, Arpaio said authorities are “going to do everything we can to continue to have this rally,” adding that authorities are “ready for any problems.”

“We’ll do everything possible to make sure we have free speech in this country. Donald Trump has a right to speak out and the people have a right to go in there and hear him speak,” Arpaio said. “If certain groups don’t like it, that’s OK. They have freedom of speech, but they’re not going to violate any laws. They’re going to have to pay the consequences.”

Next page: video of the protesters and predictions about what happens next.

If it’s this bad now, what’s it going to be like during the general election campaign? Trump rally-goers may feel compelled to defend their candidate and someone could get seriously hurt or killed in a melee.

How ironic is it that protesters calling Trump a fascist act like a bunch of Brownshirts by trying to physically intimidate Trump partisans? Of course, they are only playing into Trump’s hands by becoming unglued on camera. The radical, extremist politics of many of the protesters win them no friends among voters and gain sympathy for Trump, thus having exactly the opposite effect on the electorate than they intended.

It’s becoming clear that Donald Trump brings out the worst in everyone—friend and foe alike. It is equally clear that there is a chance that we will also be taught a painful and tragic lesson about allowing demagogues platforms from which to spew their violent, loutish rhetoric.