Wednesday 24 January 2018

Police hurt by protesters at Trump rally in New Mexico

A protester disrupts a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
A protester disrupts a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Jill Colvin

In one of the presidential campaign year's more grisly spectacles, protesters in New Mexico opposing Donald Trump's candidacy threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled rubbish bins and barricades.

Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Centre. During 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 lashed back, tweeting: "The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!"

At one point, a female protester was physically dragged from the stands by security. Other protesters scuffled with security as they resisted removal from the convention centre, which was packed with thousands of cheering Trump supporters.

Trump responded with his usual bluster, instructing security to remove the protesters and mocking their actions by telling them to "Go home to mommy". He responded to one demonstrator by asking, "How old is this kid?" Then he provided his own answer: "Still wearing diapers."

Trump's supporters responded with chants of "Build that wall!"

Trump later tweeted "Great rally in New Mexico, amazing crowd!"

A Mexican student said she participated in disrupting Trump's speech because she felt he was attacking members of her family who are living in the country illegally. She said she believes Trump is using them as scapegoats for the nation's problems.

Meanwhile, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Mr Trump each won primaries in Washington state.

Trump's win on Tuesday moves him to within 28 delegates of clinching the Republican nomination.

Clinton's win might give her some momentum, but it won't get her any delegates as Washington Democrats already awarded their delegates based on party caucuses in March, in which Bernie Sanders got 74 delegates and Clinton got 27.

Republicans in Washington will allocate all 44 delegates to their national convention based on the primary results.

Trump won at least 40 delegates on Tuesday, with four still left to be allocated. The billionaire businessman has 1,209 delegates. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination.

There are no more Republican contests until June 7, when the last five states vote. With a total of 303 delegates at stake in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, Trump should easily clinch the nomination that day.

Trump is the only remaining candidate in the GOP contest. But his former opponents, John Kasich and Ted Cruz, were still on the ballot because they suspended their campaigns after the ballots were printed. Ben Carson was also still on the ballot.

None of the former candidates got enough votes to qualify for delegates. The only question for the remaining four delegates in Washington is whether they will go to Trump or be uncommitted, under state party rules.

Sanders trails Clinton in the delegate count and he is running out of contests in his bid to catch up. Clinton is just 78 delegates short of clinching the nomination. She is on track to do so in early June, even if she loses all the remaining contests.

Clinton has 1,768 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. Sanders has 1,497.

Clinton's lead is even bigger when superdelegate endorsements are included. These are the party leaders and elected officials who can support the candidate of their choice.

Overall, Clinton has 2,305 delegates and Sanders has 1,539. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.

Irish Independent

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