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Violence Erupts at Trump Campaign Event

Police block off the Albuquerque Convention Center to protests after a rally and speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The event was held at the convention center in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
Violence at Donald Trump Campaign Event
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Opponents of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attacked and injured several police officers and damaged a building during a campaign event in New Mexico.

Protestors threw rocks, plastic bottles and other items at police officers outside the convention center in Albuquerque. The police returned with pepper spray and smoke grenades. Police said several officers were injured and at least one person was arrested on Tuesday evening.

Trump was interrupted many times during his speech inside the convention center. Protestors shouted at him and held signs criticizing him. Thousands of Trump supporters applauded loudly when he insulted the protestors and told security officers to remove them.

Doug Antoon is an attorney in Albuquerque. He said rocks smashed the convention center’s windows as he was leaving the event. He said, “This was not a protest -- this was a riot.” He said the protestors were members of “hate groups.”

It was the first campaign event for Trump in New Mexico, a state with many Hispanic residents.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is the head of the Republican Governors Association. She is the only Latina governor in the nation. She has strongly criticized Trump’s statements about illegal immigrants. And she has attacked his plan to build a large wall along the border with Mexico. She has visited Mexico to try to increase trade between the country and her state.

During his speech, Trump noted that the state has many economic problems -- including an increase in the number of people who need government aid to buy food.

“We have to get your governor to get going. She’s got to do a better job, OK? Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going,” he said.

Michael Lonergan is a spokesman for the governor. He said Martinez supports changing the state’s welfare policies. And he said Trump’s criticisms “weren’t about policy -- they were about politics. And the Governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans -- and she did not hear that today.”

Trump’s supporters said they like his policies to increase security at the border with Mexico and to stop the number of people who are crossing the border without permission from the U.S. government. But some of them said they were frightened by the violent protests outside the gathering.

Karla Molinar is a student at the University of New Mexico. She said she took part in protests to stop Trump’s speech because she believed he was attacking members of her family who are living in the country illegally. She said she believes Trump is unfairly blaming them for the country’s problems.

The Associated Press reported this story from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

pepper spray – n. a substance made from a chemical found in peppers that causes temporary blindness and pain to the nose, throat, and skin when it is sprayed on someone

smoke grenade – n. a bomb that produces a lot of smoke when it explodes

welfare – n. a government program for poor or unemployed people that helps pay for their food, housing, medical costs, etc.

bully – v. to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force