POLITICS

Trump speaks at California GOP convention as protesters clash outside

Women hold up signs protesting Donald Trump outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel before the California Republican Party 2016 Convention in Burlingame, Calif., Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Women hold up signs protesting Donald Trump outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel before the California Republican Party 2016 Convention in Burlingame, Calif., Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

Donald Trump told a crowd at the California Republican Party’s spring convention that he’s going to bring election victory back to the GOP.

“We’re going to start winning again. We don’t win any more,” Trump said, trying to build support in California, which holds its primary June 7. “I’m different, because I’m going to win states that no one else can. And when I can focus on Hillary, as I say, 'crooked Hillary' … she will go down faster than any of the people that we just beat.”

As Trump spoke, tensions spiked outside between supporters and opponents of the mogul.
Several hundred protesters opposing Trump gathered Friday outside the hotel where he was speaking, and some broke through a steel barricade and approached the venue's entrance.

Police in riot gear stood shoulder-to-shoulder to keep demonstrators back as they were pelted with eggs. The crowd chanted anti-Trump slogans in a rowdy scene reminiscent of protests that grew out of hand following a Trump rally in Southern California the night before.

Trump appealed to California Republicans to support him in the primary.

“You people have been fantastic. And on June 7, the world is going to be watching,” Trump said.

"I'll bring things into play that nobody will bring," Trump said.

“In the history of Republican primaries, I’ve gotten the most votes,” Trump told the crowd. “And we haven’t even hit the big states yet.”

On Friday, a man wearing a Trump campaign "Make America Great Again" red hat was struck while being jostled by a group of shouting protesters.

"It went gangbusters. They attacked me," said Chris Conway, a mortgage broker from San Mateo.

A dozen protesters linked arms to block the road in front of the hotel near San Francisco International Airport, but police had already closed it to traffic. Protesters also draped a large "Stop Hate" banner outside the hotel.

On his way to the hotel to deliver the speech, Trump’s motorcade was forced to pull over along a concrete median outside the hotel's back entrance. Trump and his entourage got out and walked into the building, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"That was not the easiest entrance I've ever made," Trump said later in his speech. "It felt like I was crossing the border.”

He added that his exit from the hotel was going to be as circuitous and unorthodox.

In Southern California, violent demonstrations led to 17 arrests as the Republican presidential contender brought his campaign to conservative Orange County on Thursday.

While Trump held a rally at a fairgrounds amphitheater, dozens waved anti-Trump signs outside in mostly peaceful protests and traded insults with masses of the candidate's supporters who had lined up to see him. Later in the evening, however, the protests swelled and grew rowdy and spilled into the streets.

One Trump supporter had his face bloodied in a scuffle as he tried to drive out of the arena. One man jumped on a police car, leaving its front and rear windows smashed and the top dented, and other protesters sprayed graffiti on a police car and the Pacific Amphitheatre's marquee.

Dozens of cars — including those of Trump supporters trying to leave — were stuck in the street as several hundred demonstrators blocked the road, waved Mexican flags and posed for selfies. Some protesters badgered Trump fans as they walked to their cars in the parking lot.

Police in riot gear and on horseback pushed the crowd back and away from the venue. There were no major injuries and police did not use any force.

Earlier in the evening, a half-dozen anti-Trump protesters taunted those waiting to get into the venue. Trump supporters surrounded one man who waved a Mexican flag and shouted "Build that wall! Build that wall!" — a reference to Trump's call to create a barrier between the United States and Mexico to stop illegal border crossings.

Seven shirtless women wearing 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.

"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, referencing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. "He has, like, done nothing to help with gender equality or women's rights or reproductive rights or anything."

Trump has drawn large crowds across the country, with some of his events marred by protests and scuffles. The Pacific Amphitheatre was filled to its capacity of about 8,000 and a couple thousand more were turned away, Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Stichter said.

Earlier this week, a Trump rally in nearby Anaheim turned contentious when his supporters and protesters clashed, and several people were hit by pepper spray. Trump was not present.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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