(Reuters) – Protesters threw rocks and bottles at police officers who responded with pepper spray outside a rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump in Albuquerque, New Mexico, police said.
Hundreds of protesters tried to storm the convention center in New Mexico’s biggest city, knocking down barricades and throwing objects at a door and then hurling rocks and bottles at mounted police in riot gear, the Albuquerque Police Department said on Twitter on Tuesday and video posted online showed.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 25, 2016
Several police officers were injured, the police tweeted.
Protesters chanted anti-Trump slogans, held anti-Trump signs and waved Mexican flags before the demonstration descended into chaos with some protesters standing on top of police cars.
Television footage showed officers responding by using pepper spray and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd.
Happening NOW: Police in Albuquerque firing pepper spray at protesters after today's Trump rally: pic.twitter.com/dnLamjjNU0
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) May 25, 2016
Police said they made arrests both outside and inside the rally, where protesters continually interrupted Trump’s speech.
No one at the police department was immediately available for comment.
Protests have become common outside rallies for Trump, the party’s presumptive nominee, who has polarized opinion with his rhetoric against illegal immigration. He abandoned a rally in Chicago in March after clashes between his supporters and protesters.
— Shaun Griswold (@shaun505) May 25, 2016
He has accused Mexico of sending drug dealers and rapists across the U.S. border and has promised to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.
According to CNN, his supporters chanted “build that wall” during his rally on Tuesday in Albuquerque where a little less than half of the population is Hispanic or Latino.
“Watching thugs & punks in Albuquerque – en route to California. They don’t even know what they are protesting,” Trump aide Dan Scavino said on Twitter.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) May 25, 2016
Trump heads on Wednesday to a rally in Anaheim, California, which has a growing Latino minority.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)