Protests break out after Trump rally
Following Donald Trump’s rally at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, the crowd filing out of New Holland Arena were met by a tense scene, featuring protestors and supporters of Donald Trump.
One man, Jeff Thomas — a self-proclaimed member of the alt-right, representing his online community “Kekistan.” — was pepper sprayed by a woman wearing full Trump regalia. The woman and police declined to comment or provide her name when asked.
According to Thomas, the woman approached him, asked for a picture, and then proceeded to pepper spray him in the face.
Inside the event, individual protestors were escorted out by security. One man was taken to the ground, and apprehended roughly. Another man, Neil Makhija, was kicked out after being confused for a protestor. According to Makhija’s twitter account, he is not a Trump supporter, but was simply attending the event to hear the president’s speech.
The group that kicked him out is known as “Bikers for Trump.” According to reporters familiar with Trump’s rallies, the group polices for protestors, removing them and covering their faces so cameras can’t capture them. In this case, they put hands on Makhija. None of the Bikers were removed from the event.
The rest of the protests remained relatively nonviolent, though some seemed to be nearing a boiling point. One group of protestors advocating for Black Lives Matter, got in a heated debate about the movement with a group of Trump supporters. One of the girls involved mentioned that she thought the group was closing in on them, when a group of men in pseudo-military garb stepped between the two groups. One of the men told this reporter that they were the New York State militia, and intended to “keep the peace.”
Other conflicts stemmed from the fact that protestors and supporters were relegated to the same area during the event. Upon the event letting out, one conflict was escalated because the crowd leaving the venue had surrounded the group of protestors and supporters. Many individual exchanges occurred, but the standoff culminated in a “Build the wall,” chant that protestors drowned out with a “F--- the wall” chant.
The exchange was short-lived, though, as mounted officers broke the gathering up by forming a line and moving forward simultaneously. Police presence during the event, and especially afterward, was heavy. There were only two arrests made throughout the course of the entire rally, according to Penn Live. It is not clear whether they occurred inside or outside the venue.