GREENSBORO, N.C. — A protester at a Donald Trump rally on Friday was shoved and put in a headlock by supporters of the Republican nominee.
The altercation, just the latest incident of violence against protesters at Trump rallies, came moments after Trump pointed directly at the protester and told him to “get out!”
Trump supporters began shouting at the man before one male Trump supporter and then another began shoving the protester, who was holding an American flag upside down.
A third man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and a “Gays for Trump” shirt then forcefully grabbed the protester and began rushing him toward the exit. The protester briefly escaped the man’s grasp, but the Trump supporter quickly put the protester in a headlock.
As the two men scrapped, a police officer intervened to break up the scuffle and escorted the protester out of the venue.
As the Trump supporter who put the protester in a headlock ventured back into the crowd, high-fiving other Trump supporters along the way, police returned into the crowd to escort the man and another who had shoved the protester out of the venue.
Asked by CNN why he hit the protester, the Trump supporter simply said “I didn’t hit him” as police pushed him toward the exit, arms behind his back.
It was not immediately clear if anyone was arrested in the scuffle, and a message left with Greensboro police was not immediately returned.
“That’s what’s happening to our country, that’s what happening. That is total disrespect for our flag, that’s what’s happening to our country,” Trump said as one of the supporters who grabbed the protester returned to the crowd. “We’re going to turn it around, folks. We’re going to turn it around.”
Meanwhile, supporters close by chanted, “Let him stay.”
Several of Trump’s North Carolina rallies have been marked by violence against protesters, most recently last month in Asheville, when a Trump supporter grabbed a protester by the neck and appeared to hit him in the face. The Asheville Police Department issued a warrant for that man’s arrest, calling the incident an “assault.”
At the same rally, a 69-year-old protester was allegedly punched in the face by a Trump supporter outside the venue.
In March, a Trump supporter in Fayetteveille, North Carolina, was charged with assault after he punched a protester who was being escorted from the venue.