Police presence heavy as thousands gather for Trump rally in San Diego
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Police were visible on every corner near the San Diego Convention Center Friday as hundreds gathered early for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s 2 p.m. rally.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman stated again Friday police are prepared for situations that many arise and that disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.
"If anyone makes a bad decision to cause harm to others or to disrupt whats going on—commit unlawful illegal acts—were going to act swiftly and decisively and they can expect to be arrested, Zimmerman told KUSI.
Several protest groups reached out to police to inform them of their plans, Zimmerman said. They want to peacefully demonstrate and police respect that right.
The department plans to have a "significant presence” of uniformed and plainclothes officers at the mid-afternoon bayside gathering and has coordinated with state, local and federal agencies to promptly put a stop to any combative or destructive protesters or counter-protesters, the chief said.
The city has designated demonstration zones — one for Trump supporters and another for those who oppose the 69-year-old billionaire real estate magnate’s presidential bid — on the northwest and southeast sides of the Harbor Drive center and will strictly enforce attendees’ comportment while ensuring their constitutional free-speech rights, Zimmerman told reporters.
"And we are well prepared to respond,” she said.
Zimmerman declined to disclose details of the planned enforcement strategies.
On Tuesday night, violence broke out at a Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Several police officers were injured by rocks thrown by protesters, some of whom also hurled bottles and stones at police horses. At least one person was arrested.
During an appearance at the Anaheim Convention Center Wednesday afternoon, some attendees hurled bottles at police, and others tried to climb over a barrier, prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly and begin attempts to disperse the crowd. At least two people were taken into custody.
It was Trump’s first visit to Orange County since April 28, when his appearance in Costa Mesa sparked protests that turned violent and resulted in 17 arrests.