Virginia isn’t for Trump lovers: Brawl breaks out at billionaire’s campaign event (VIDEO)
Physical altercations erupted between supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and pro-immigration protesters as the GOP candidate spoke at a rally in Richmond, Virginia.
When Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico and has advocated for building a barrier between the two countries, got to the immigration portion of his speech, things got heated.
“We’re going to build the wall,” Trump said, and his supporters let out a huge cheer. But a smattering of boos could be heard coming from the audience as well.
Then about a dozen protesters, many of whom are students at nearby Virginia Commonwealth University, began chanting: “Dump Trump!” and “We’re here to stay!”
Things quickly turned physical, as the businessman’s supporters snatched the students’ signs and began shoving them.
“Trump’s security team started leading several people out and there was a gentleman directly across from us who was extremely irate, screaming ‘go back where you came from’ and several expletives,” spectator Daniel Reilly, a Republican from North Carolina who came to see Trump speak out of curiosity, told WTVR. He was about a foot away from the scuffle.
In response, a protester demanded that the gentleman be sent “back to Europe.”
“They brought another gentleman down the aisle toward us and he got in a confrontation with that same gentleman,” said Reilly. “And the gentleman who was screaming ‘go back where you came from’ spit in this man’s face, and it got a little crazy from there.”
Trump continued speaking during the melee. While he said that free speech allowed the protesters to voice their opinions, he lamented that they would get the attention, rather than his supporters, AFP reported.
"We have thousands of people in this room... We have about ten people over there. They'll get the headline," he said.
The protesters said they wanted to call out Trump’s stances on racial and immigration issues.
"We just had to show him that here we don't stand for racism. He's just playing on xenophobia and hatred towards people from minorities," one protester told AFP after she was escorted out by police.
The students, many of whom were Latino and wearing Mexican flag emblems, blamed Trump’s supporters for starting the fights.
“This woman asked if I was here to support Trump. I said ‘No I’m not here to support Trump’ and she started getting physical with us,” VCU student Camille Spencer told WTVR, referring to a woman who sat nearby on a step as a police officer spoke to her.
“And the cops are probably catering to her right now, because she’s a white female,” she added. “It’s a ludicrous idea that we were getting physical. She initiated us, she came at my friend Jasmine, you know?”
Trump told AFP after the rally that he "didn't see much of the protest."
Despite the ruckus and police escorting protesters out of the building, no one was arrested or hurt.