BURLINGAME, California (CNN) — Hundreds of demonstrators descended on the California Republican Convention Friday to protest Donald Trump ahead of his speech.
Protesters — some of whom wore bandanas over their faces and carried Mexican flags — blocked off the road in front of the Hyatt Regency here, forcing the GOP front-runner’s motorcade to pull over along a concrete median outside the hotel’s back entrance. Trump and his entourage got out and walked into the building.
“That was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” Trump said once he began speaking at the convention, adding, “it felt like I was crossing the border.”
At one point, about two dozen protesters tried to rush barriers near the hotel. Police officers then rushed to the building’s doors, successfully blocking the protesters from getting in.
Several physical altercations, including shoving, could be seen between protesters and police officers, who were using batons to push them back.
After Trump arrived, protesters took down a barrier and flooded the entrance outside the hotel, where police again blocked them from entering. They chanted, “Get him out.”
Protesters have disrupted Trump’s rallies across the country for months, but have rarely escalated into mass street demonstrations. Many demonstrations have focused on Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration.
“I came out here to support my people and my father,” Adrian Olivares, a 23-year-old college student who was draped in a Mexican flag, told CNN. He said his goal in protesting Trump’s appearance was to display his country’s flag “as loud as I can.”
Olivares said his father came to the United States legally in the 1980s, became a citizen and created a home cleaning business in Sonoma County.
“He’s very successful,” Olivares said. “And for Trump to come out and say we’re just a bunch of rapists, f— him.”
Meanwhile, inside the hotel, a few dozen convention-goers and journalists watched the chaotic scene through the front windows, but otherwise most people hardly noticed. Instead, they perused convention exhibits or waited in line for the luncheon. Even as a group of police in riot gear suddenly sprinted through a long hallway, people continued to go about their business.
Richard Marshall, GOP chairman for Siskiyou County, was calmly strolling around in the hotel atrium and talking to friends, unfazed by the protesters who were trying to storm the entrance just feet away.
“It’s part of the business, isn’t it?” Marshall said. “I mean, I think it’s unfortunate they don’t want to have freedom of speech for everybody and want to have it all for themselves.”
Earlier Friday, bare-breasted protesters, men and women, some of whom were associated with the progressive group Code Pink, chanted “Stop hate” as they marched.
Nancy Mancias, a Code Pink protester, was kicked out of the convention after yelling into a bullhorn that the Republicans should “dump Trump,” causing a stir inside the already energized state convention.
Mancias told CNN afterward, “My message here today is ‘Stop hate and dump Trump.'”
At one point, a Trump impersonator who supports the GOP front-runner was quickly surrounded by protesters. Police, apparently concerned for his safety, eventually pulled him over hedges outside the hotel and away from the crowd.
The protests follow a rowdy scene Thursday night outside Trump’s rally in Costa Mesa, California, where several scuffles broke out between protesters and Trump supporters. At least one police car was damaged and one Trump supporter was visibly bloodied after being punched in the face.
About 20 people were arrested Thursday night, police said.