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May 25, 1:45 PM EDT

Anaheim police: Anti-Trump violence will not be tolerated


AP Photo
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Police in California issued a firm warning to protesters Wednesday that violence would not be tolerated ahead of Donald Trump's scheduled rally following clashes between anti-Trump protesters and police in New Mexico a day earlier.

"While we recognize and respect the First Amendment rights of all individuals to express their viewpoints and protest peacefully, we will not tolerate violence or disobedience of the law during the upcoming rally," Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said in a statement.

"Everyone has the right to participate without fear of violence or disorder, and we are prepared to take swift and decisive enforcement action should it become necessary," Quezada said.

In one of the presidential campaign year's more unruly spectacles, anti-Trump protesters threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled trash cans and barricades.

Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Inside the rally, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers.

The banners included the messages "Trump is Fascist" and "We've heard enough."

Trump responded on Twitter, tweeting Wednesday: "The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!"

At the rally itself, he reacted with his usual dismissive comments, instructing security to remove the protesters and mocking their actions by telling them to "Go home to mommy."

Albuquerque police said several officers were treated for injuries after getting hit by rocks thrown by protesters. At least one person was arrested, police said.

During the rally, protesters outside overran barricades and clashed with police in riot gear. They also burned T-shirts and other items labeled with Trump's catchphrase, "Make America Great Again."

In Anaheim, pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators clashed last month at Anaheim City Hall when the City Council discussed a resolution criticizing Trump as divisive. Rally attendees arrived early Wednesday, weaving through a maze of police barricades and security checkpoints before entering the venue.

The violence in New Mexico has prompted security concerns beyond neighboring California. Police in Bismarck, North Dakota, said Wednesday they would dedicate about a quarter of their force for security when Trump heads to the state Thursday.

Sgt. Mark Buschena said about 30 officers would be assigned to the event at the Bismarck Civic Center. Trump is keynoting the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference and Expo, with about 7,000 people expected to attend.

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AP Writer James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, contributed to this story.

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