By Bronte Price, PoliticKING
Hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the Trump rally at the Orange County amphitheater on Thursday night, declaring their opposition to the presidential candidate. The protests, which began peacefully, turned violent as the night progressed. People damaged parked cars, threw rocks at drivers and chanted in protest of Donald Trump.
Many Trump supporters who had reserved tickets were turned away.
"I'm very disappointed," Jan Strahl, a 66-year-old Tustin resident, told reporters.She had reserved a ticket but could not get inside the event to hear Trump speak.
Trump supporters who were left outside the event were left facing the anti-Trump protesters. According to the Los Angeles Times, each side was taunting the other while police helicopters circled above.
Back window has been smashed out of a Costa Mesa police cruiser. Protester: "I think Donald Trump did it!" pic.twitter.com/FTj4JoiAdN
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) April 29, 2016
Traffic was eventually stopped as the demonstrators made their way onto the roadway, waving Mexican and American flags. Video footage shows protesters throwing debris at a passing pickup truck. A group of protesters carried benches and blocked the entrance to the 55 Freeway while some tossed rocks at drivers near the on-ramp.
Police have said that at least 5 police cars were damaged in total, amounting in thousands of dollars worth of repairs. In order to prepare for last night's crowds, law enforcement agencies deployed additional forces, including 50 Orange County sheriff's deputies and a dozen Costa Mesa police officers.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) April 29, 2016
CBS Los Angeles reported that there were at least 3,000 people both for and against Trump outside the rally, which had 8,000 attendees.
By 10 p.m., rows of police in riot gear were still dispersing the remaining crowds. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported on Twitter that the rally was dispersed by 11 p.m. and that there were no reports of major injuries. Costa Mesa Police Department Sgt. Patrick Wessel told reporters that 17 people had been arrested for failure to disperse.
After the violent end of the rally, there were reports of confrontations between Trump supporters and protesters. Aerial video showed one car doing donuts around demonstrators before driving off.
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