Tom LoBianco et al., CNN, April 29, 2016
Hundreds of demonstrators descended on the California Republican Convention Friday to protest Donald Trump ahead of his speech.
Protesters–some of whom wore bandanas over their faces and carried Mexican flags–blocked off the road in front of the Hyatt Regency here, forcing the GOP front-runner’s motorcade to pull over along a concrete median outside the hotel’s back entrance. Trump and his entourage got out and walked into the building.
“That was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” Trump said once he began speaking at the convention, adding, “it felt like I was crossing the border.”
At one point before Trump arrived, about two dozen protesters tried to rush barriers near the hotel. Police officers then rushed to the building’s doors, successfully blocking the protesters from getting in. Some of the doors’ handles were handcuffed from the inside so they couldn’t be forced open.
Several physical altercations, including shoving, could be seen between protesters and police officers, who were using batons to push them back.
After Trump arrived, protesters took down a barrier and flooded the entrance outside the hotel, where police again blocked them from entering. They chanted, “Get him out.”
Burlingame Police Lt. Jay Kiely estimated the crowd to be in the hundreds, though he did not have a precise figure. He said one individual was detained and there was an initial report of a non-serious injury, but he did not provide further details.
“I came out here to support my people and my father,” Adrian Olivares, a 23-year-old college student who was draped in a Mexican flag, told CNN. He said his goal in protesting Trump’s appearance was to display his country’s flag “as loud as I can.”
In his speech at the convention, Trump predicted the primary season would soon come to a close and called for Republicans to come together, stressing, “there has to be unity in our party.”
But, he made sure to note, he could still win in November even if he fails to unite the party.
“Could I win without it? I think so, to be honest, I think so,” he said. High-profile Republicans such as Jeb Bush, he continued, may not support him in the general, but he brushed that off as a minor issue. “Big deal, like I care. OK?”
As he wrapped up his speech, Trump again mentioned the protests outside and the lengths to which he had to go to be there Friday afternoon.
“You have no idea the route they have planned for me to get out of here,” Trump said.