Protesters have disrupted Trump’s rallies across the country for months, but have rarely escalated into mass street demonstrations. Many protests have focused on Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration.
“I came out here to support my people and my father,” Adrian Olivares, a 23-year-old college student who was draped in a Mexican flag, told CNN. He said his goal in protesting Trump’s appearance was to display his country’s flag “as loud as I can.”
Olivares said his father came to the United States legally in the 1980s, became a citizen and created a home cleaning business in Sonoma County.
“He’s very successful,” Olivares said. “And for Trump to come out and say we’re just a bunch of rapists, f— him.”
Frank Lara, 30, a fourth-grade teacher in San Francisco, brought a Trump pinata with him. He said he was most concerned about Trump’s comments on immigration.
“We’re upset at the hate speech and division that this man, Donald Trump, is saying in a time of crisis,” Lara said. “We’re out here to make sure that he does not feel comfortable just saying what he is saying.”
Meanwhile, inside the hotel, a few dozen convention-goers and journalists watched the chaotic scene through the front windows, but otherwise most people hardly noticed. Instead, they perused convention exhibits or waited in line for the luncheon. Even as a group of police in riot gear suddenly sprinted through a long hallway, people continued to go about their business.
Richard Marshall, GOP chairman for Siskiyou County, was calmly strolling around in the hotel atrium and talking to friends, unfazed by the protesters who were trying to storm the entrance just feet away.
“It’s part of the business, isn’t it?” Marshall said. “I mean, I think it’s unfortunate they don’t want to have freedom of speech for everybody and want to have it all for themselves.”
Earlier Friday, bare-breasted protesters, men and women, some of whom were associated with the progressive group Code Pink, chanted “stop hate” as they marched.