COSTA MESA, Calif. – Thousands of supporters turned out Thursday as Donald Trump brought his campaign to Southern California.
Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the speech at the Orange County Fairgrounds. They were peaceful beforehand but grew increasingly unruly afterward, blocking an intersection and jumping on cars.
The front and back window of one police car were smashed and a man wearing a Trump T-shirt got into a fistfight after someone stole his hat. The man was left with bloody nose and blood-streaked face but was not seriously injured.
Police declared the assembly unlawful and much of the crowd dispersed. At least one person was arrested.
Things were calmer before the speech, but heated words were exchanged after people wearing expletive-laden anti-Trump shirts began to taunt people waiting in line to attend the speech.
Trump supporters surrounded the demonstrators and shouted “Build that wall! Build that wall!” — a reference to Trump’s call to create a barrier between the United States and Mexico to stop illegal border crossers.
The protesters included a group of seven topless young women who wore only stickers to cover their breasts. They also had slogans such as “Dump Trump” and “Gender Equality” written in marker on their midriffs.
Fans lined outside the venue hours before the doors opened. Some drove more than an hour to get a glimpse of the man they described as a patriot, business wizard and astute negotiator.
Ly Kou, 47, of Ontario, said she likes Trump because he has vowed to put the country first.
“It’s obvious that America loves Trump,” said Kou, who is from Laos, as she pointed at the waiting throng. “This thing about him being racist? Look around the crowd.”
Vendors hawked T-shirts, visors, pins and Trump bobble-head figurines, while activists set up stands to help register voters.
After the rally, Trump heads to the state’s Republican convention in Burlingame, in the San Francisco Bay Area.