'Ugly Chaos' After Trump Event in San Jose

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Updated 2:45 p.m. Friday, June 3:

The San Jose Mercury calls it "the biggest and most violent political protest San Jose has seen in decades." Veteran KCBS reporter Doug Sovern described it as "ugly, ugly chaos."

The event in question: The aftermath of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's appearance in downtown San Jose Thursday evening.

Anti-Trump protesters brawled with Trump supporters in melees that spread through the streets near the city's Convention Center and continued sporadically for more than 90 minutes after the Republican candidate's event ended. Police made four arrests.


Inside the city's Convention Center, Trump dished out his standard litany of promises to "make America great again" and to build an impenetrable barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border. He mixed those familiar pledges with swipes at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The crowd, said to be about 4,000, ate it up, chanting "USA! USA!" and "Build the wall! Build the wall!"

But violence erupted as Trump's audience emerged from the hall as some in a crowd of several hundred protesters confronted the Republican's supporters. Some demonstrators threw eggs, some chased and punched departing Trump partisans, and some grabbed and burned Trump signs and hats.

Many of the protesters were young, like 26-year-old Janet Brambila, who said she wasn't there participate in the violence. She told KQED's Beth Willon that Trump supporters sicken her because they support his attacks on Mexicans.

"I was undocumented for many years. My parents were too," Brambila said. "We all cleaned houses, white peoples’ houses. ... See all this hatred right here -- it's literally white people."

Protesters quoted by news organization's expressed dismay at the violence -- some of which appeared to have been committed by demonstrators wearing bandanas.

Here's the Merc's description:

Exactly who was involved in the violence outside and where they were from remains unclear, but numerous members of the crowd were Latinos from East San Jose who said they opposed the violence and condemned Trump for touting racism.

"San Jose is populated mostly by immigrants and Donald Trump has inspired hate," said Miguel Ayala, 20, from San Jose: "I'm all about love."

Ariana Romero, 21, also from San Jose, said Trump is degrading all hard-working immigrants with his rhetoric.

"I work hard and have my own place and pay my own bills," Romero said, "and because of this man people look down on me and think I'm just another statistic -- all because of his hate. Why would we want someone like that to run this country?"

She said she came to peacefully protest, "but just doing dangerous things isn't helping. It makes it look like we are doing it for the hell of it."

Some observers, notably Sovern of KCBS, questioned why police failed to move in earlier to deal with the violence. But San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo praised the city's police force for "an extremely courageous and professional job."

Finally, here's the Associated Press writeup of the Trump event and its aftermath:

By Martha Mendoza
Associated Press

Donald Trump supporters leaving the presidential candidate's rally in San Jose on Thursday evening were pounced on by protesters, some of whom threw punches and eggs.

A dozen or more people were hit and car windows were broken. Trump hats grabbed from supporters were set on fire on the ground. At least one woman was pelted with an egg.

Police stood their ground at first but after about 90 minutes moved into the remaining crowd to break it up and make arrests. At least four people were taken into custody, though police didn't release total arrest figures Thursday night. One officer was assaulted, police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries and no major property damage, police said.

The crowd, which had numbered over 300 just after the rally, thinned significantly as the night went on, but those who remained near the San Jose Convention Center were rowdy and angry.

Some banged on the cars of Trump supporters as they left the rally and chased after those on foot to frighten them.

Police were keeping their distance from the crowd as the scuffles played out, but were able to keep them from getting any closer to the convention center.

"Our police officers have done an extremely courageous and professional job so far," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told The Associated Press by phone. "We're all still holding our breath to see the outcome of this dangerous and explosive situation."

The mayor, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, criticized Trump for coming to cities and igniting problems that local police departments had to deal with.

"At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign," Liccardo said.

Trump holds a rally Friday at the airport in Redding, at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley and about 200 miles north of San Francisco.

Clinton and Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders will also make campaign stops in the state on Friday in California as they look to Tuesday's California Primary.

Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, spoke for about 50 minutes at the rally, sniping at Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and calling her speech on foreign policy earlier in the day "pathetic" and "sad to watch."

Protesters before the speech included Adam Rivas, a 22-year-old community college student who was born and raised in San Jose. He was holding a spray-painted sign that read "Dump Trump."

Rivas said he was particularly disturbed by Trump's remarks about Mexicans.

"For any one Mexican here he bashes, there are about 20 Mexicans out there who are hard-working and just doing their job," he said.

Trump supporter Debbie Tracey, a U.S. Navy veteran from San Jose, said she came to hear Trump speak, and left his rally with two hats, a T-shirt and a handful of signs that said "Veterans for Trump."

Passing in front of a wall of protesters, many chanting in Spanish, she said she supported Trump's call for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"I'll go help build the wall because if you are going to come to this country, land of opportunity, you should be here legally," she said.