We’ve seen thuggery at Trump events before but this is a new level of mayhem. One attendee says via Reddit:
- An Asian gentlemen with his wife and young daughter were harassed. The 3 protestors, all adult males, yelled racial slurs at the father, and called the 9ish year old girl vulgar terms I will not repeat. The protestors had “BLM” spray painted on their hoodies.
- A woman with Bernie attire chased me, mocked me for my clothing. She then grabbed my arms, but quickly stopped when I informed her that I was off duty LEO.
- Inside the pavilion, immediately after the announcement of cancellation, the protestors swarmed supporters. It erupted into complete chaos. A black man and his young son, who had waited for several hours, were harassed and called “uncle Tom”
- There was a large police presence, but it seemed like they had their hands tied behind their backs and did very little to protect the Trump supporters from the violence.
I consider Trump’s remarks to be highly inciting. In my view, his call to “punch protesters in the face” to a hyped up crowd containing a minority of protesters is potentially criminal.
At the same time, bringing violence to an otherwise peaceful political event goes against the principles of free speech. MoveOn must have been aware of the high incidence of violence at BLM protests, and of the attitudes of many racist Trump supporters. This was clearly intended to be a major disruption of the event.
MoveOn endorsee Sanders had this to say on Twitter afterward: “We will not allow the Donald Trumps of the world to divide us up.”
So my question to you is, if a candidate’s views are intolerable or even dangerous, is it ethical to outright sabotage his events, or is it still our duty to defend the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble and exercise free speech?
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