An Arizona highway leading to a campaign rally for Donald Trump was shut down by protesters on Saturday while they rallied outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan to declare their opposition to the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
Dozens of protesters blocking traffic while holding signs that read “Dump Trump” and “Shut Down Trump was seen through Television news footage of the demonstration outside Phoenix.”The demonstrators eventually started marching down the highway, and later some were seen nearing the rally at Fountain Hills, Arizona, before Trump arrived.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s office stated that three people were held captive by the police.
An increase in tensions around the polarizing candidate can be seen by Saturday’s protests, the candidate who has come under fire from rivals for fueling unrest with his campaign rhetoric. Noting that the latter has denied responsibility, but this week warned of riots if he is denied the party presidential nomination.
From the other side, about 1,000 demonstrators marched in his home city of New York, from Central Park to Trump Tower, the billionaire developer’s signature building on Manhattan’s tony Fifth Avenue. The crowd of mostly young people chanted and carried placards denouncing the Republican presidential hopeful. It was stated by some of them that police used pepper spray on them as they left the park and started marching.
It was seen that, at least one person taken into custody by the police, but a spokesman for the New York Police Department could not immediately confirm whether any arrests were made or whether pepper spray was used.
Arizona, where political parties will hold primary elections on Tuesday, is a flashpoint for the issue of illegal immigration into the United States, as it shares a long stretch of border with Mexico. Trump, who has repeatedly accused Mexico of sending violent and unlawful migrants to flood the United States, has made illegal immigration the signature issue of his campaign.
The action has earned Trump the authorization of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, an outspoken critic of U.S. immigration policies. Fountain Hills, the site of the Trump rally, is in Maricopa County. Arpaio told CNN when asked how he planned to deal with the demonstrators they will do everything they can do to assure freedom of speech in the country.
“Donald Trump has the right to be heard by the thousands of people who love him, support him and want him to be president of the United States,” the sheriff said. Arpaio, wearing civilian clothes, introduced Trump at the rally.
Trump rallies have grown increasing unruly as the months-long campaign has progressed. An event in Chicago a week ago was canceled over security concerns after protesters, many of them university students, swarmed the venue. Clashes then broke out between protesters and supporters.