On Tuesday, some 65 Trump-inspired protesters stormed a function at the National State Fairgrounds in Hartford, Connecticut, where two public officials – the Republican speaker of the state’s legislature and a newly elected Democrat – were celebrating the takeover of the state house of representatives by Democrats.
One of the protesters, a registered nurse, was charged with third-degree assault, state police said in a press release. The protester, who police did not name, pulled the hair of a man at the event and kneed a woman in the knee, police said.
In a video recorded by the Guardian, 20 people in black masks enter the room and begin chanting loudly in Arabic. Dozens of police officers surround the room and drag the protesters out of the building.
The protesters also harassed and assaulted more than a dozen legislators – mostly Democrats – as they entered and left the event, the Connecticut Mirror reported. They slammed Democrats with a flashlight, threatened them with handcuffs and taunted them with the “Trump” chant. Police cars lined the road outside, and at least one sign included the names of the two men and women.
In the Republican event, 36 protesters confronted some nine public officials in a crowded room, drawing consternation from the man who emceed the event.
State Rep. George C. Logan, who was debating Rep. Matt Lesser, D-Mansfield, became incensed by the protesters, according to the Hartford Courant. “Are we having an anti-establishment meeting here?” Logan asked a heckler in the crowd.
“Who are you? You’re on a talk show,” the protester responded.
“I’m a Republican lawmaker, so I mean you could have had a different way of talking,” Logan said.
Another representative, Wayne J. Jette Jr., who was debating newly elected Rep. Frank Palazzo, R-Mississippi, jumped in. “I don’t know if that would have been the strongest way to start,” he said.
According to the Courant, the lawmaker said: “We have to do something. Enough is enough. There is some damage being done, and we are going to do something about it.”
Minutes later, more than a dozen police cars and large police and state security personnel swarmed the room, blocking off all exits, and removing the protesters. There were brief scuffles outside between the protesters and a few dozen other Republicans who gathered to show support. Some Republicans shouted “sieg heil!” as they tried to rush out of the building.
The Hartford Courant reported that one protester threw a water bottle at Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, a Democrat and co-chairman of the legislature’s finance, revenue and bonding committee. The bottle missed, and broke, just after it was thrown.
Lawlor called the incident “intolerable.”
Rep. Chaisson Farr, a spokesman for Lesser, said, “It appears to be one of many politically motivated incidents where partisan attacks or threats will not be tolerated.”
The protest came a few days after the release of a video shot by a local government official in Florida. Watch: The moment a government official accuses a Republican opponent of racism
The video, filmed by the elected mayor of Palm Bay, Florida, captures one of his GOP rivals calling him a racist and making derogatory comments about black people.
According to NBC 6 in South Florida, Mayor Russell E. P. Weldon III’s video, released last week, shows a video of a Republican opponent shouting in a restaurant. Weldon’s opponents calls him “racist,” shouts, “What do you want to do? Run away? He’s a racist!” and threatens to call the cops.
The video was seen by CNN reporter Dana Bash, who reported that the video was “a testimonial” from a citizen who has grown concerned with the Republican city manager, who has grown friends with one of the challengers.
Lesson appeared at a press conference at PBC government headquarters on Friday and said he felt he had been “silenced” by the community, he said.
He did not return multiple phone calls seeking comment on the incident.
Federal authorities are also investigating a hate crime reported by a 15-year-old girl in Hollywood, Florida, last month. Police interviewed at least 20 witnesses and are investigating the incident as a hate crime, though their probe is still ongoing, NBC affiliate WPTV reported.
Police said in a statement: “Because this incident is part of an ongoing criminal investigation, this department will not be releasing any additional information at this time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.