Protesters and Trump Supporters Gather Near Prototype Site
With President Trump’s visit to the border wall prototype site in Otay Mesa being the major part of his presidential tour of California, groups of protesters and trump supporters gathered in Otay Mesa near the site through which the president would access the prototype site.
A pro Trump rally scheduled from 10 a.m. until noon was held at a lot near the Cross Border Xpress airport terminal in Otay Mesa, roughly five miles away from the prototipe site entrance.
The event was promoted through rightist social media circles on Reddit and Facebook. The event had speakers such as “patriot leader” Ben Bergquam and members of groups which have been used to appeal to Trump sympathisers’ anti immigrant sentiment.
Nora Rubio, a rally attendee holding a “Latinos 4 Trump” sign, said that she supports the president and wants a border wall to go up.
“Building a wall is like building a house, you need a wall for protection,” she said.
While the event had no altercations, footage of a Mexican flag, which reportedly fell off a passing vehicle, being torn up by a man with a knife have appeared on social media.
In a video captured by Fox 5 San Diego reporter Jamie Chambers, a man wearing Trump hat and shirt is seen saying “Fuck Mexico, this is America” as he tears up the Mexican flag. In the video, onlookers can be heard saying “burn it” and chanting “USA, USA.”
After the pro Trump rally finished, a number of attendees then made their way to the corner of Enrico Fermi Drive and Via de la Amistad, through where President Trump would pass in a motorcade en route to the prototype site.
Groups opposing Trump’s visit held a number of demonstrations throughout San Diego that day, including two other events in nearby San Ysidro. However, a crowd of roughly 80 people was present at the prototype site entrance to voice their disapproval at the president’s visit.
As part of a security protocol, steel barricades were set in place along the intersection and police directed people to sides of the street for people who support Trump or who are there to protest.
Although Kim Sorgente, a known alt-right agitator, was present on the pro-Trump side and a few people shouted at each other from across police lines, tensions were low and there was no violence on either side.
At about 12:15 p.m., the presidential motorcade arrived to the site, drawing cheers from supporters and booing from protestors.
Chula Vista resident Morgan Webster arrived with his son to the prototype site entryway shortly before the president passed by. He sees the visit as something that is much needed, as he says that California is struggling and wants to see solutions.
“I had my kid with me and I wanted him to see the president because it is not every day that our Commander in Chief is in town,” Webster said.
Los Angeles resident Manuel Aguilar was present at the San Ysidro and Otay protests against the president’s visit. He believes that the wall is a waste of money and a way to rally up sections of a Republican base.
“This wall is about racism, not immigration policy,” said Aguilar. “Besides, anyone who is dying to live the American dream will always find a way over or under a wall.”
The president inspected the prototypes for about an hour and left the site through the same route and drawing the same response from a slightly thinner crowd.
After his visit to the prototype site, President Trump visited Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to deliver a speech to Marine infantry and then left for Los Angeles, where he attended a fundraiser that night.