Posted by News Express | 20 March 2016 | 2,242 times
Hundreds of protesters have rallied outside Trump Tower in Manhattan while demonstrators briefly shut down an Arizona highway leading to a campaign rally for Donald Trump.
At least one person was arrested at the tower on New York’s famous Fifth Avenue during a brief skirmish on Saturday, as demonstrators voiced their opposition to the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay,” shouted the demonstrators who gathered at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, near one of the billionaire real estate mogul’s luxury buildings overlooking Central Park.
Amid a considerable police presence, protesters held up signs that read “Deport Trump” and “Build a wall around Trump”.
Earlier, demonstrators blocked a major road in Arizona in the latest attempts by opponents to disrupt the campaign of the top US Republican White House hopeful who staged a campaign rally on Saturday just days ahead of the Arizona primary.
Tempers flared at the rally itself, but without the violence that marred Trump's event in Chicago a week earlier. A handful of people were arrested, police and witnesses said.
New York’s demonstration was organised by a group called Cosmopolitan Antifascists and included immigrants’ rights activists, students and socialists.
“I think Donald Trump is speaking a message of fascism and racism, and I don’t think that’s good for America,” said Laura Merrill, a tour guide who supports Democratic Bernie Sanders for president.
Trump has called for a ban on all Muslims entering the US, just one example of rhetoric by the candidate that has sparked controversy on the 2016 campaign trail.
“Everything he says is racist and false. It hurts my feelings,” said Nour Hapatsha, a 22-year-old Muslim born in the US.
Some pro-Trump supporters also showed up.
“More and more, people who show their support to Donald Trump are intimidated,” said one among them, Jim MacDonald.
“We’re here to show that it is still America for the time being ... we have a right to free speech. As frightening as this is, we are going to show that we have the right to show our support to Donald Trump whether it pleases the other side or not.”
In Arizona, meanwhile, protesters blocked a major thoroughfare in an attempt to prevent Trump supporters reaching a rally he was due to hold ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday.
The protesters held a banner across the width of Shea Boulevard with the words “Dump Trump” as a long lines of traffic backed up in Fountain Hills, on the outskirts of Phoenix.
Later, at the rally in Tucson, Arizona, Trump said the protests were “disgraceful.
“They arrested three people and everybody else left ... they left,” Trump said to roaring cheers from the audience.
“I love our police, but we should do a little bit more of that. You’d have a lot less protesters, you’d have a lot less agitators.”
Trump vowed to rebuild the military and build a border wall with Mexico.
Arizona, where political parties will hold primary elections on Tuesday, shares a long stretch of border with Mexico, and is a flashpoint for the issue of illegal immigration into the US.
Last weekend, a man was arrested when he attempted to rush the stage where Trump was addressing a rally in Ohio. In another incident, a man who was caught on video punching an anti-Trump protester in the face at a North Carolina rally was arrested and charged with assault.
•Credit (except headline): Al Jazeera. Photo shows anti-Trump protesters confronting the police on Saturday.
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