Trump rallies in San Diego, Fresno draw big protests

- Donald Trump campaign rallies drew vocal crowds of protesters in San Diego and Fresno on Friday, all under heavy police presence following similar events around the country that led to violence and arrests.

About a thousand Trump foes demonstrated outside San Diego's convention center, some engaging in shouting matches with the candidate's supporters and many carrying signs critical of his plan to wall off the U.S. border with Mexico, which runs just south of the city.

Some waved Mexican flags and one man broke apart a Trump piñata with a pole.

"I marvel that this presidential election has come to this," said San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria, a Democrat who joined the protest.

Trump supporter Pam Stickler walked past the protesters on her way into the rally.

"I like that he is bold and not afraid to speak his mind," especially about illegal immigration, she said. "Because we're here at ground zero in San Diego."

Earlier in the Central Valley, several hundred demonstrators chanted, held signs and marched around a downtown Fresno arena where the presumptive Republican presidential nominee spoke to supporters.

The Fresno protesters — a largely young and Latino crowd — chanted "keep hate out of our state" and held signs with slogans such as "Trump needs to be dumped."

At one point a protester pulled at a gate but other demonstrators tried to calm him down. Police formed a line between the protester and the gate. After the demonstration had largely dispersed, a woman was arrested for refusing to move as a police line advanced to clear the area. Another woman was similarly arrested later.

Ticket-holders arriving for the event took pictures of the protesters with their phones and fellow Trump supporters urged them to not respond to demonstrators.

"We need to put up a wall to keep them out," said Trump supporter Christine Kinyoun, 44, of Hanford.

Heading into the rally, Darrell Hedden, 59, of Hanford, said he thinks Trump would restore U.S. pride.

"I came to see Donald Trump make history. He's going to make this country better," Hedden said.

Jacqueline Saavedra, 18, traveled to Fresno from East Los Angeles to protest.

"I have a family of immigrants," she said. "My father came here illegally to work in the fields. He did give us a better life. He's a good man. I'm here for my people."

Trump's appearances have brought together large numbers of supporters and protesters, often divided over his comments about immigrants and Muslims and his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border.

At least eight people were arrested outside a Trump rally this week in Anaheim, a day after anti-Trump demonstrators in Albuquerque clashed with police.

Demonstrators in the Orange County city of Costa Mesa last month damaged police cars and threw bottles, leading to 17 arrests.

___

Smith reported from Fresno.

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