Police clashed with hundreds of protesters outside Donald Trump’s rally in Southern California on Thursday night.
At least one police car was smashed up as hundreds of demonstrators – many of them waving Mexican flags – took to the streets outside the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, Orange County where Trump was speaking.
The protesters flooded the street outside the amphitheater with some stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to Trump – bringing traffic to a halt and creating a tense standoff with authorities.
One Trump supporter was pictured with a bloody face after clashing with the anti-Trump activists, many of whom appeared to be young Hispanic people.
The violence in Southern California where Latinos make up a large segment of the population suggests Trump may face more of this in the days to come, as he campaigns ahead of the state’s June 7 primary. Trump currently leads Kasich and Cruz in the California polls, with an estimated 45.7 per cent of voters, according to Real Clear Politics.
Early Friday, authorities said there were no major injuries following the ordeal and that crowds dispersed by 11pm.
Traffic came to a stop as protesters gathered and blocked traffic while carrying signs in the intersection of Fair Drive and Fairview Road, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Photos from the scene showed a visibly bloodied Trump supporter after he was punched in the face as well as several people being arrested and handcuffed by police.
In the chaotic scenes, some of the demonstrators reportedly carried benches and blocked the entrance to the 55 Freeway along Newport Boulevard.
As they blocked traffic, a group of protesters waved both American and Mexican flags while others had signs with messages including ‘Dump the Trump,’ according to the Times.
At one point, a demonstrator was seen stomping on a police car, causing the car’s windows to smash, while another scrawled an expletive and Trump’s name onto a police cruiser. Some of the protesters also reportedly tossed rocks and debris at cars passing by.
Officers in riot gear from the Costa Mesa Police Department and sheriffs on horseback lined a roadway and told demonstrators to clear the road, but many remained in the street.
At one point, seven women wearing no shirts and Bernie Sanders stickers over their breasts entered the square outside the amphitheater.
They said they were protesting Trump’s lack of engagement on issues of gender equality and women’s rights and had slogans such as ‘Dump Trump’ and ‘Gender Equality’ written in marker on their midriffs.
‘I feel like he wants to make America great again, but certainly not for women, for the LBGTQ community or for the lower class,’ said one of the women, Tiernan Hebron. ‘He has, like, done nothing to help with gender equality or women’s rights or reproductive rights or anything.’
During his speech, Trump – apparently unaware of the chaos engulfing the rally outside the theater – told the crowd: ‘Our rallies are the safest place to be on Earth, believe me’, The Guardian reported.
Additional forces from law enforcement agencies had been deployed to deal with tonight’s crowd, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While Costa Mesa officials had also set up an emergency operations center opposite the fairground and amphitheater, with city spokesman Tony Dodero adding earlier, ‘we’re prepared for the worst.’
There were were nearly 200 officers and deputies at the scene, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
However, as the chaotic scenes played out it seemed police were dealing with a larger and more boisterous crowd than expected.
‘It definitely got out of control,’ Megan Iyall, 20, who was visiting from Seattle told the Times. ‘I shouldn’t feel this unsafe.’
She added: ‘I know people are angry and upset but that should not be happening.’
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.