Donald Trump calls for protesters who disrupt his rallies to be arrested
Donald Trump on has called for protesters who disrupt his rallies to be arrested, one day after altercations and protests forced him to cancel a campaign rally in Chicago.
The comments capped a tumultuous day on the campaign trail in which a demonstrator rushed a stage where Trump was speaking.
Trump also accused Bernie Sanders' supporters of sowing unrest at his events and the GOP front-runner refused to back down from his rhetoric that some have cited as the cause of heightened tension at his rallies.
Trump's call to arrest protesters came at a campaign event in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was repeatedly interrupted at the beginning of his address.
"I'm going to ask that you arrest them," Trump said to the police. "I'll file whatever charges you want. If they want to do this ... we're going to go strongly for your arrests."
Trump said arresting protesters would "ruin the rest of their lives" by giving them a "big arrest mark."
"Once that starts happening, we're not going to have any more protesters, folks," Trump said.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton issued a stern warning a day after the Trump rally in Chicago was called off.
“If you play with matches, you’re going to start a fire you can’t control. That’s not leadership, that’s political arson,” Clinton said.
But Trump dismissed the notion his extreme statements on immigrants and Muslims had exacerbated tensions, placing the blame squarely on “organised thugs” and saying he’s “going to start pressing charges against all these people”.
After a demonstrator tried to rush on stage during Trump’s rally in Dayton, Ohio, the candidate made unverified claims that the man was linked to the Islamic State group.
“So, the judge let him go. And then one of my people said, wow. They found his name, and it was probably Isis or Isis-related. Do you believe it? Certainly, he’s not in love with our country, that I can tell you, okay?” Trump said.
According to the Dayton Daily news website, the man in question is a 22-year-old anti-racism activist named Thomas Dimassimo, who was filmed last year taking part in a protest that involved students standing on American flags, holding signs saying, “Not my flag”.
In support of his claim, Trump tweeted a link to a video of the flag protest, dubbed over with Islamic chants in what appeared to be a crude hoax intended to suggest ties to extremism.