Late last night, anti-Trump protesters confronted local police, throwing bottles and burning t-shirts outside a rally for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.  Albuquerque police used smoke grenades after protesters threw rocks at them. Protests continued for hours until police declared it an "illegal assembly." The police denied reports that they had used tear-gas. Several officers were treated for injuries caused by rocks hurtled by protesters. "The smoke that has been seen is not tear gas, it's just smoke. We have not deployed tear gas at this time," the police tweeted. Police added: "Only arrests at this point have been from inside the rally."
 
About 100 protesters broke through police barricades and assaulted the convention center. The table of a vendors selling Trump merchandise, including t-shirts, was ransacked by protesters. The t-shirts were ignited and thrown at police.
 
Inside the convention center, protesters disrupted Trump’s speech and three were forcibly ejected by police when they refused to leave. A dozen protesters in the stands around the stage where Trump spoke displayed banners that said "Undocumented Unafraid" and "We've heard enough." Another banner called Trump a fascist. A woman wearing a bra was throwing fake money into the air behind Trump. She was eventually escorted out by police.
 
This was the first rally held by Trump in New Mexico, the nation’s most Latino state. "We need to make sure that he knows that we do not accept the message that he's bringing and the hatred," Juan Sanchez of Democratic Party of New Mexico told KRQE News.
 
Raucous leftists started fires and damaged property outside of the rally, where the protest became increasingly chaotic. A glass door at the convention center was smashed. Some protesters brought children as they tore down police barricades. Anti-Trump protesters appeared especially incensed by his positions on immigration and loudly shouted, "F*** Donald Trump." Others taunted police and jumped on police vehicles as officers in riot gear and on horseback pushed back. Trump had already left the building.

 
The Albuquerque protest differed from the scene in Chicago earlier this year in that police successfully kept Trump’s supporters and detractors apart, nor did they arrest or clash with the chanting mobs. According to police, there was no confirmation of reports of gunshots. "There is no confirmation that any gunshots were fired, contrary to reports. Possible damage to Convention Center Windows by pellet gun," the police department tweeted.
Eventually, Albuquerque police posted on Twitter: "Appears that most of the @realDonaldTrump protestors have left & remaining contingent is only looking to cause trouble & be destructive."

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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