More than 100 protesters showed up in front of Century II on Saturday to protest Donald Trump’s presidential run and, at times, engaged in shouting matches with Trump supporters, who outnumbered them.
Although insults were exchanged, including a few curse words and racial epithets, the protests and counterprotests did not turn violent, said police Capt. Gavin R. Seiler, who said no arrests were made.
But there were moments of tension.
Emily Baird was with her mother, who was in line to support Trump. But as cars with Mexican and American flags drove by in protest, she broke into tears and left her mother, who is from Mexico, and joined the protesters.
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The people in line had joked that the Latino drivers were drug dealers, Baird said, but she didn’t think drug violence was funny. “It’s just so sad, because I really care about Mexico,” Baird said.
Many of the protesters said they were there because Trump said he would create a database of Muslims, or because he threatened to deport every unauthorized immigrant, or because he hesitated before disavowing hate groups. They wore yellow stars on their clothing as a reference to the symbol that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.
Some Hispanic students said they tried to join the Trump rally but that they were kicked out by security without provocation.
On his way out, Marco Sarmiento said he was called a racial slur. “To them, just being brown is a form of protest,” Sarmiento said. “Because we’re brown, that’s all they need to kick us out.”
Adam Walsh, 16, said he and his friends conceded they aren’t Trump supporters. But he said they attended Friday’s Marco Rubio rally and that they were trying to see as many of the presidential candidates as possible.
Some of the Trump supporters were confused by the protests.
“They are thinking Trump hates everybody, and all he said is he wants to deport everybody who is breaking the law,” said Phillip Ullom. “What’s wrong with that?”
Four young Muslim women listened for most of Trump’s speech, which took place inside Century II in a separate room from the caucus site. They said they were nervous, because they weren’t sure how Trump supporters would respond. When Trump started talking about Syrians, they shouted, “No to racism. No to Islamaphobia!” before being escorted out.
As many of the Trump supporters left Century II at the end of his rally, a group of the protesters approached them, waving signs.
A line of police officers stood between the protesters and people who left the Trump rally. The protesters chanted, “Stop the hate” and “Dump Trump,” and the Trump supporters responded, “Trump, Trump, Trump!” and then “Build a wall. Build a wall!”
“Go home!” shouted Pete Chawk. He said he was angry at the protesters for making Trump look like a villain. “If they are not citizens, they should go home,” he said.
One man, holding a child’s hand, shouted at protesters across the street that “Breaking the law is breaking the law.”
“He wants to deport 11 million people,” a protester shouted back.
“If 11 million people speed, you don’t think those guys would pull us over?” the Trump supporter said, pointing at the police.
After the protesters had moved to the front of Century II and their numbers had thinned, Robert Cowdrey approached the remaining protesters and asked calmly about their views on immigration. “So I can come to your house any time of day and any time of night and you don’t care?”
“Mi casa es tu casa (my house is your house),” said Andres Leland, one of the student leaders who held a megaphone. Others joked that, if Cowdrey came to their house, he would have great tortillas and beans.