Last week, photographer Jimi Giannatti attended a Trump rally in San Diego, where protestors converged to denounce in particular the candidate’s deeply racist anti-Mexican stance. Trump’s supporters were ready for them, and armed with pepper spray.
A similar Trump event in San Jose last night has drawn national attention (and considerable worry from the typically anti-violence left) for violent behavior on the part of Trump’s opponents. But these photos show that both sides are resorting to increasingly brazen acts of violence. Giannatti described the scene to me over email:
What happened was ALL Trump protestors were forced across the street from the San Diego Convention Center and NO protestors were allowed near it. There was a HUGE police presence. This segregation of pro-Trumpers and anti-Trumpers continued all day until the Trump rally ended in the Convention Center - THEN a huge contingent of Trump supporters (mostly younger males) made their way unencumbered by the SDPD over across the train tracks and towards downtown and began harassing the anti-Trumpers who had been there peacefully all day - and I mean aggressively challenging them to fights, cursing, etc. All with the cops standing mere feet away from them with their backs turned.
In my photo you see the aftermath to where some extremely passionate hispanic anti-Trumpers were defending their choice to protest Trump to the hating pro-Trumpers and were met by a sneak attack, completely acting in concert, spraying of pepper spray by the two guys in the pic. The pepper spray went everywhere - you cans see it’s direction bending in the shot by the strong winds that day - Several people, including myself, experienced an instant burning in our lungs an extreme burning to our eyes.
Giannatti adds that he “can say with certainty that I saw no anti-Trump violence”—though this week’s escalation shows that elements of both sides are willing to hurt one another.
Update—Photographer Eric Rosenwald captured a video of the pepper spray attack:
Update 2: A woman claiming to be the pepper spray victim in the second photo from the top wrote us to clarify that she was not there as a “goddamn dirty protestor,” but to support Donald Trump: “I have no idea who pepper sprayed me as I was just standing there drinking wine.” Presumably this is a case of friendly fire—pepper spray is not the most accurate weapon.