Yesterday, Donald Trump visited San Diego’s Convention Center at 2pm and spoke for about an hour. Vendors outside sold Donald Trump souvenirs and supporters often wore red hats with the logo “Make America Great Again.”
From about 11am onward, anti-Trump protestors rallied within the Free Speech Zone, located across the street from the Convention Center next to the Trolley Station and across from the entrance to the Gaslamp District.
For most of the day, this pro-Trump supporter stood next to the following sign within the Free Speech Area:
Now and again, Trump supporters would hang around the protestors shouting things, but these were without incident. One man held the following sign:
At noon, a press conference was held by the Democratic Party. Francine Busby, the Chair of the Democratic Party, spoke first. (My apologies for the bad video, but in light of what the media presented to the public, I think it’s important to provide greater documentation of the day. Originally, I assumed other media outlets would be covering the speeches and I would only be taking quotes from these speeches and writing them up, but it now seems important to show more.)
Busby then introduced Enrique Morones of Border Angels. He had this to say:
Nathan Fletcher next spoke about why Donald Trump is anti-Veterans: https://www.facebook.com/San-Diego-Free-Press-229936303776084/
The Vice-President of Run Women Run, Carol Kim, spoke:
Our very own SDFP contributor Jim Miller spoke:
Several local politicians were present among the anti-Trump protestors, including former Chula Vista Mayor and current candidate for Chula Vista City Council District 3, Steve Padilla:
The San Diego Labor Council spoke to the crowd:
Thereafter, Unión del Barrio came marching down the closed off street of Harbor Boulevard and stopped inside the free speech zone:
Donald Trump was inside the Convention Center from about 2pm to 4pm and spoke to cheering crowds. Police presence was strong throughout the day.
My personal phone records show that I went to lunch along 5th Avenue at 2:41pm (pizza & a soda)… which is why I completely missed the following outbreak:
Once I returned to the Free Speech Zone, everything was quiet. I did notice more police presence.
It was my observation that by around 3:45pm, the number of anti-Trump protestors had dwindled significantly. It’s hard to say how many protestors showed up in the first place. The media “guess-timates” about 1,000. For some reason, we media people have to make best guesses, but in actual truth it could have been 500 or it could have been 2,000. Nobody really knows. By 4pm the protestors had dwindled down to no more than 100 from what I could see. None of them, as far as I could tell, were the activists mentioned above.
But at around 4:00pm something strange began to happen. Trump supporters who had been inside the Convention Center were routed by security towards the Seaport area–far away from the Free Speech Zone. However, a small group — perhaps no more than 100, but again this is a “guesstimate,” it could have been more like 50 people — began to pour into the Gaslamp District on the other side of the street from where protestors were gathered. This is when things started to get strange… and a bit confusing.
A verbal altercation took place between two women within the protestor crowd, which would lead one to assume that the “protestor” crowd wasn’t just anti-Trump activists, but also pro-Trump supporters. It was unclear who was who, but the media and on-lookers went crazy, capturing the altercation on iPhones and cameras. This seemed to egg the women on, who then continued with greater bravado, which is why I walked away. The video isn’t very good, but here it is:
I then passed by a woman in business-style dress who yelled out, “Go back to Mexico!”
Trump supporters were also taking pictures with themselves in front of the Riot Police:
I walked over to a crowd and one of them told me they had been at the Trump Rally inside the Convention Center. This was the group of about 50-100 people I am referring to. Another person next to me said they were here because they wanted to see what was going on with the protestors.
I heard a loud speaker say something vaguely. After a while I understood it as police saying that people now needed to disperse or they would be arrested.
Soon thereafter, a large number of police began to head towards the protestors. One man was taken by police and the small crowd of Trump supporters started to cheer.
Here’s what happened next:
That’s when I left.
Apparently, an hour later things took a turn for the worse. According to most news outlets, the San Diego Police Department made 35 arrests. Here it is reported by the BBC, Fox News, CBS News (showing that the anti-Trump and pro-Trump people were inter-meshed in the “protestor” crowd), USA Today, and many more.
KPBS did probably the best reporting of the whole day, although the speeches of so many of the anti-Trump protestors are lacking. The participation of political leaders also seemed to be omitted.