Donald Trump accused of defending supporters who 'roughed up' a Black Lives Matter activist during Alabama rally

After a Black Lives Matter activist was thrown to the ground for interrupting the rally, Trump said: 'Maybe he should have been roughed up'

Doug Bolton
Sunday 22 November 2015 18:24 GMT
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Trump speaks at a rally in Mobile, Alabama on 21 November
Trump speaks at a rally in Mobile, Alabama on 21 November (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

US Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been accused of suggesting that his supporters were right to attack a Black Lives Matter activist who interrupted his speech in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday.

The day after the incident, during which attendees at the Trump rally were filmed throwing activist Mercutio Southall Jr to the ground, Trump was asked to comment on his supporters' actions on the Fox and Friends talk show.

Black lives matter supporter at Trump rally 'shoved, tackled, punched and kicked'

Trump replied: "Maybe he should have been roughed up."

"It was disgusting what he was doing," he added.

Trump then went on to compare the incident to a similar one at a recent rally for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, in which protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement grabbed the microphone from Sanders' hands and kicked him off stage.

Trump said: "This was not handled the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you, but I have a lot of fans and they were not happy about it."

"And this was a very obnoxious guy, who was a troublemaker, was looking to make trouble, but I didn't get to see the event."

A video from the rally, captured by CNN, shows a group of men surrounding Southall after he interrupted the speech. He is thrown to the ground and appears to be punched and kicked by a handful of bystanders, before swiftly being escorted away by security.

According to a Washington Post reporter who was in the crowd, one bystander shouted "Don't choke him!" after one of the men put his hands around Southall's neck.

Similar incidents have occurred at previous Trump rallies – Latino protesters at a campaign event in Miami in October were filmed being violently dragged out by attendees, as the crowd chanted "USA, USA".

In August, two men in Boston were arrested after allegedly beating a homeless Mexican man with a metal pole.

After their arrest, police said one of the men, Scott Leader, allegedly said: "Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported."

When questioned about the alleged crime by the Boston Globe, Trump replied: "I haven't heard about that. I would be a shame, but I haven't heard about that."

Trump faced criticism, however, after he said: "I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again."

"They are passionate. I will say that, and everybody here has reported it."

Trump is currently leading in many Republican presidential polls, with former neurosurgeon Ben Carson following in a close second.

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