LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - Protesters at a Donald Trump rally in Kentucky last Tuesday have filed complaints with police claiming they were assaulted by Trump supporters, according to police and protesters.
Henry Brousseau, 17, of Louisville, said he went to the Super Tuesday event at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville to protest Trump’s campaign and was punched in the stomach by a woman who was wearing a T-shirt of the Traditionalist Worker Party.
“We’re going to see how the police can find out who she is and hopefully we’ll move on from there,” he said in a telephone interview.
Another protester, Molly Shah, 36, also of Louisville, said that she, too, had filed a complaint.
Alicia Smiley, spokeswoman for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, said three complaints were filed on Wednesday and Thursday and were under review.
These would mark the latest clashes between Trump supporters, security, and protesters. The day before Trump visited Louisville, black students were removed from a rally in Georgia.
A website for the Traditionalist Worker Party describes it as a grassroots political organization that believes, among other things, that “European-American identity is under constant attack.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights and public interest advocacy organization that monitors groups it considers extremist, classifies the Traditionalist Worker Party as a white nationalist hate group, said Ryan Lentz, a writer and researcher for the center.
Brousseau, who is white and transgender, said he joined people from Black Lives Matter, Parents for Social Justice, Showing Up for Racial Justice and other groups that went to the Trump rally to protest.
Video footage that has been circulated on social and traditional media shows people in Traditionalist Worker Party t-shirts pushing people, notably a young black woman, and taking their protest signs.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email that the campaign does not comment on security matters.
The Traditionalist Worker Party did not respond to requests for comment, and its website, tradworker.org, does not say where it is based.
Matthew Heimbach, the group’s chairman, wrote in a blog on the website of the Traditionalist Youth Network that the protesters, including those from Black Lives Matter, were the aggressors. And he tweeted, “Its (sic) funny how BLM comes to a Trump event to fight, starts the fight and then loses the fight but plays big victims to the media.”
Southern Poverty Law Center’s Lentz said, “Matthew is a figure who is core to the white nationalists and white supremacist culture as it is right now in the U.S.”
For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the Reuters blog, “Tales from the Trail” (here).
Editing by Fiona Ortiz and James Dalgleish
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