Protesters and supporters continue to clash at Donald Trump‘s rallies. While his rally in Fountain Hills, AZ, appeared to only experience a roadblock by protesters on Saturday as Mashable reports, his event that followed in Tucson was not as peaceful.
In a video captured by NBC News’ Frank Thorp V, a man appears to be punching and kicking a protester as he’s being led away by security. In the clip, the alleged perpetrator is also escorted out by security.
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) March 19, 2016
The protestor, Bryan Sanders, told Arizona Daily Star that he is an independent. “I was protesting Trump’s fascism, his racism, his lies and his women hating,” he said, adding that he was holding up a sign that said, “Trump is bad for America.”
“The guy grabbed the sign out of my hand as I was being escorted out of the building and sucker-punched me,” Sanders said.
In another video from Tucson shared by CBS News’ Jacqueline Alemany, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, appears to be grabbing the collar of another protester. Trump’s campaign followed up with a statement, which Alemany posted on Twitter, claiming that it was the protester who started the scuffle.
“Corey Lewandowski was speaking with a protestor at today’s rally in Tucson, Arizona, when the individual he was speaking with was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski’s left,” the campaign said in the statement. “The video clearly shows the protester reacting to the man who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski. Mr. Trump does not condone violence at his rallies, which are private events paid for by the campaign.”
This isn’t the first time Lewandowski has been accused of roughly handling someone at one of Trump’s rallies. Earlier in March, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields alleged Lewandowski forcefully grabbed her and shared a photo of bruises on her arm via Twitter.
Last weekend, Trump’s rally was cancelled in Chicago. The campaign announced to those assembling that after consulting with law enforcement, “for the safety of tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed.” However, multiple reports suggested that the clashes between protesters and Trump supporters were non-violent. As Chicago Tribune reported, four demonstrators were arrested for resisting arrest, with two charged with felonies of aggravated battery to a police officer. On March 9th, a Trump supporter was arrested for assault after allegedly sucker-punching a protester at a rally in Fayettesville, NC.
Trump has been criticized for seemingly provoking crowds to clash with protesters. In an interview with Bill O’Reilly following the events in Chicago and Fayettesville, Trump was asked if he should show more restraint when provoked.
“I think so and I think I’ve been restrained. We’ve had very little problems,” Trump said. “We have some very big events scheduled. When people go in there and they interrupt and they stand up and in many cases they start things like raising their fists and maybe hitting people, I’m not going to want to stand for that and the people in the room won’t stand for that. But the answer is yes, I would absolutely be able to stand above it.”