Shortly after 10 p.m., a crowd of hundreds of protesters had dispersed and the few demonstrators left were outnumbered by law enforcement. Along Newport Boulevard, one of the main streets outside the fairgrounds, officers from the California Highway Patrol were stationed at nearly every intersection. A row of police officers on horseback formed a phalanx across Newport Boulevard near Fair Drive.
The scene outside the Donald Trump rally was chaotic as a crowd of hundreds of mostly young protesters blocked the streets. Many were carrying Mexican flags.
Protesters smashed a window on at least one police car, punctured the tires of a police SUV, and at one point tried to flip a police cruiser. A young man got on top of the police cruiser and started stomping on it before slipping and falling off. Protesters scribbled anti-Trump messages on police cars and on at least one red sports car parked in a gas station parking lot.
Police in riot gear and on horseback slowly pushed the crowd down the street and away from the fairgrounds as helicopters circled overhead. At one point, protesters and a Trump supporter appeared to get in a scuffle, and the Trump supporter came away with a cut and bloodied face.
The entrance to the 55 Freeway has been cleared after protesters took benches from a nearby hotel and used them to block traffic. Some of the demonstrators threw rocks and beer bottles at anyone yelling at them.
They took selfies and group shots before California Highway Patrol officers arrived to break up the crowd.
No has been reported hurt. The groups have reduced in size.
Where was Donald Trump before his rally in Costa Mesa on Thursday?
The Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles in Rancho Palos Verdes.
"I would have stayed there, but I had to come talk to you people," he joked to supporters at his rally.
Trump purchased the club in 2002 and has since had a contentious relationship with the coastal city.
In 2008, he sued Rancho Palos Verdes for $100 million, accusing the city of fraud and civil rights violations. He contended that the city refused to allow improvements needed to maintain the "Trump image," including a clubhouse terrace and a row of ficus trees he said he was forced to cut down. The city and Trump settled the lawsuit in 2012 . Details were not disclosed.
In the kickoff to his California campaign, GOP front-runner Donald Trump doubled down on his most controversial statements Thursday as he courts the most conservative elements of the state Republican Party.
Speaking at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Trump brought on the families of people allegedly killed by immigrants in this country illegally before reiterating that he would build an enormous wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it. Then he told a discredited story about a World War I-era general who allegedly stopped an insurgency by ordering his troops to kill Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.
“We’re going to have to get a lot tougher than we are because we have problems,” he told thousands of cheering supporters.
Trump’s speech in Costa Mesa was his first public appearance in California since it became clear the state’s June 7 primary would be crucial in determining whether he can win the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.
This is the state that in 1994 approved Proposition 187, a measure that would have denied many state-funded benefits for those in the country illegally. It was largely thrown out by the courts, and California voters have grown more liberal in their approach to illegal immigration since then.
But Trump’s message makes strategic sense given that the state’s Republican primary is open only to voters who are registered Republicans, and there remains a strident conservative base in the party. Though it has grown more liberal and diverse in recent years, Orange County — which fueled Ronald Reagan’s runs and was the site of protests where former Gov. Pete Wilson was burned in effigy for not being conservative enough — remains the symbolic bastion of that base.
Jamiel Shaw has spoken at rallies and appeared in a TV ad for Donald Trump to call for an end to illegal immigration.
So when the billionaire businessman arrived in Costa Mesa on Thursday, Shaw was at his side when he took the stage.
Shaw's son, a Los Angeles high school football star, was killed in 2008 by an immigrant who was in the U.S. illegally. Shaw was joined onstage by others who had lost loved ones to crimes committed by people in the country illegally.
"When I saw Trump and what he said, for the first time it gave me real hope, gave me real change," Shaw said of Trump entering the presidential race last summer.
Shaw lauded Trump's calls to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and his calls for deportation.
"He's really become a great friend of mine," Trump said of Shaw.
At the start of his rally in Costa Mesa, Donald Trump brought members of the Remembrance Project onto the stage. The Texas-based group labels itself as "a voice for the victims killed by illegal aliens."
In an open letter to Republican candidates in March, the Remembrance Project wrote:
"Violent illegal alien crimes, especially crimes resulting in the killings of American citizens, are like none other in our system of legal justice. In every case, the perpetrator was in the country illegally, enabled by a government unwilling to protect our nation’s border and enforce current laws. We are aware that not all candidates have clearly promised to secure the borders, however, there is some very important unfinished American family business that urgently needs your attention."