Republicans downplay Trump rally unrest in California

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Donald Trump supporters and protesters clash at rally in California

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The head of California's Republican Party on Friday downplayed chaotic demonstrations that broke out against a Donald Trump campaign rally there, saying protests were typical for the state's politics.

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About 20 people were arrested on Thursday night near the county fair grounds in Costa Mesa, California, where the Republican front-runner for the White House held his rally. Local media reported that protesters smashed the window of a police squad car and blocked traffic.

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Donald Trump: Protests erupt in California
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Republicans downplay Trump rally unrest in California
Police on horseback and in riot gear pass by a damaged police car as they break up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear form a line to break up a group of protesters, one with a Mexican flag, outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Sheriffs on horseback and police break-up a group of demonstrators outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear arrive to break-up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A demonstrator wears a mask outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear pass by a damaged police car as they break up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear arrive to break-up a demonstration outside of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A sold out side directs traffic outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Demonstrators sit in front of a line of police in riot gear outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear arrive to break-up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police on horse back break up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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"If you're a Republican running for president in California and you don't get protested, you're doing something really, really wrong," Jim Brulte, chairman of the California Republican Party, said on CNN on Friday. "Every president I've campaigned with here in California has been protested."

Protests have become common outside of rallies for the outspoken New York billionaire in recent months. His campaign had to call off a rally in Chicago last month after clashes between his fans and protesters.

Trump visited California on Thursday ahead of its June 7 primary, and he will speak on Friday at the California Republican convention.

California boasts the most delegates to the Republican National Convention in June and is key to his hopes of getting the nomination for the Nov. 8 election.

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer blamed Thursday night's unrest on people from the political left.

"They're always willing to call out everybody else but when it's their side that disrupts, that creates violence, that ruins public property, there's silence," he told CNN.

Trump has accused backers of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders of fueling tensions at his rallies in the past, a charge Sanders has dismissed.

Trump has won a broad following among Republicans in the United States, along with harsh critics, for his tough stand on illegal immigration. He has accused Mexico of sending drug dealers and rapists across the U.S. border, and has promised to solve the problem by building a wall and forcing Mexico to pay for it.

The population of Costa Mesa, where he appeared on Thursday, is about a third Latino.

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Donald Trump supporters
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Republicans downplay Trump rally unrest in California
A masked supporter dances before Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a campaign town hall event in Wausau, Wisconsin April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Brewer
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People say the pledge of allegiance before listening to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters wait for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he speaks at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters (L-R) Annalisa Wales, 12, Scarlett Wales, 9, Barbara Wales, 68, and Katherine Wales, 10, wait for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People listen to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak at a campaign rally in Sacramento, California, U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A man carries a sign for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally to highlight POW-MIA issues on Memorial Day weekend in Washington, U.S. May 29, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
People watch Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump address the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally to highlight POW-MIA issues on Memorial Day weekend in Washington, U.S. May 29, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters attend a rally with Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in San Diego, California, U.S. May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marcos Spence solicits volunteers to work for the campaign of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump as they stand in line before the start of his rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A supporter holds a sign as Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in Anaheim, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters line up to enter a convention center where U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Anaheim, California, United States May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters of Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump arrive before Trump speaks at a campaign event in Anaheim, California U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A supporter of Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign before Trump speaks at a campaign event in Anaheim, California U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters of Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump arrive before Trump speaks at a campaign event in Anaheim, California U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump stand in line before the start of his rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a Trump campaign rally at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump wearing a "Trump for President '16" t-shirt listens to the candidate speak at a campaign rally at the airport in Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S. On April 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo
Activists of Hindu Sena, a Hindu right-wing group, perform a special prayer to ensure a victory of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in the upcoming elections, according to a media release, in New Delhi, India May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
Supporters hold signs as Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Lynden, Washington, U.S., May 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Supporters cheer as Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Lynden, Washington, U.S., May 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Supporters hold signs as Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Lynden, Washington, U.S., May 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign during a rally in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Delegate Douglas Marshall in the Donald Trump booth during the second day of the Republican Party of Texas state convention on May 13, 2016 in Dallas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Supporters look on as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Lynden, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes a photo during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump supporters Josh (R), and his father Jeff Schimek (L), wait for him to speaks during a Town Hall at the Racine Civic Centre Memorial Hall April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
Supporters (L) of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump point and scream at an anti-Trump demonstrator (R) holding a sign reading "More Like Make America Racist Again" sign during a Trump campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona March 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in De Pere, Wisconsin, United States, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Bob Bolus, a supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, gives the thumbs up to drivers as they pass by on Super Tuesday in Middleburg Heights, Ohio March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
Rosemary Harder wears a hat supporting Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump during a news conference, after the Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri primary elections, held at his Mar-A-Lago Club, in Palm Beach, Florida March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Alex Stypik joins Trump (L) on stage at a campaign rally in Bloomington, Illinois March 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
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Supporters of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer on their candidate at a Trump campaign rally in New Orleans, Louisiana March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Layne Murdoch Jr.
A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Cadillac, Michigan, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign at a campaign rally at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia February 29, 2016. REUTERS/ Philip Sears
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump celebrates with a cigar at Trump's 2016 South Carolina presidential primary night rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A campaign volunteer for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wears a hat signed by Trump during a rally with supporters in Gaffney, South Carolina February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Freda Green, of Louisiana, wears a hat in support of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump before a rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A veteran of both the Korean and the Vietnam War, C.J. Dauzt wears a sticker in support of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump before a rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
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Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, left, stands with a man he called onto the stage from the crowd because of the 'Legal Immigrant For Trump' t-shirt he was wearing, during a campaign event in Bloomington, Illinois, U.S., on Sunday, March 13, 2016. After violent protests prompted Donald Trump to cancel a rally in Chicago on Friday night, the Republican presidential front-runner blamed the activist group MoveOn.Org and supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders for the chaos, while defending his own harassed supporters. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Trump appeared at the rally with families of several people who were allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants.

Local news afterward showed demonstrators surrounding vehicles, waving Mexican flags and holding signs. At least one demonstrator was shown jumping on top of a police car. A Los Angeles Times reporter posted a photo on Twitter of a man wearing a Trump T-shirt with a bloodied face.

Trump's main Republican rival, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, was likely to receive a boost on Friday with the expected endorsement of Indiana Governor Mike Pence days before next week's primary contest in the state, multiple media outlets reported.

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