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One Ugly Summer: Is Latest Trump Rally Violence Just Taste of What's to Come?

Rancor, riot police, anger, and arrests. Will 2016 be the year political events become violent by design?

An anti-Trump demonstrator lies at the intersection of Fair Drive and Fairview Road near the Pacific Amphitheatre, where the candidate made his first appearance of his California campaign.  (Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

One ugly summer.

If events in California outside a Donald Trump rally on Thursday night are any indication, the months ahead are likely to inspire more acrimony than political inspiration as billionaire media personality Donald Trump emerges as the Republican Party's presidential nominee.

While holding an event at the Orange County Fair grounds in the city of Costa Mesa, approximately twenty people were arrested after anti-Trump demonstrators clashed with the candidate's supporters and police were confronted with a hostile crowd who vowed to challenge the noxious views of Trump's campaign.

As the Guardian reports:

Outside the venue, a crowd of largely Latino but also white and African American demonstrators shouted and chanted slogans before the event, then returned as it drew to a close.

Hundreds of people formed human barricades on an approach road to a nearby freeway, blocked the Fairgrounds exits, and waved banners that said “Build a Wall Around Trump” and “Dump the Trump”.

Police appeared to be caught out by the protesters and had to call in reinforcements to separate them from the Trump supporters flooding into a large parking lot after the rally.

“Whose streets? Our streets!” the demonstrators chanted as hundreds of police officers, many in riot gear, ordered them to disperse. While most remained peaceful and waved immigrants’ rights banners, several of them jumped on a police patrol car parked at one corner of the Fairgrounds, smashed its windows and attempted to tip it over.

"I'm protesting because I want equal rights for everybody, and I want peaceful protest," one demonstrator, 19-year-old Daniel Lujan, told the Los Angeles Times. "I knew this was going to happen," he added. "It was going to be a riot. He deserves what he gets."

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Reporters and witnesses tweeted images and video from the scene:

Though local law enforcement had invited neighboring agencies to assist them and established an emergency operations center to monitor and control the crowds, the Times reports, "it was apparent to some that the sizable police presence was wrestling with a larger crowd than expected."

Megan Iyall, an out-of-towner who attended the rally, told the newspaper, "It definitely got out of control. I shouldn't feel this unsafe."

Though nothing is certain yet, each passing primary contest shows Trump closing in on securing his party's nomination. As a Trump nomination has steadily evolved from vague possibility to reality, numerous critics have warned about the sinister fascist undertones (as well as the overt xenophobia, nationalism, sexism, and racism) of his personality and those who support him.

For his part, the candidate appeared pleased with the evening, tweeting:

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