Man drives car into crowd protesting Trump immigration policy

No serious injuries were reported

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Friday 27 October 2017 19:21 BST
A man drives his car into a crowd of protesters outside of a republican congressman’s office

A California man has been charged with assault after driving his car into a crowd of protesters outside of a congressman’s office.

Demonstrators had gathered outside the Brea office of Republican Ed Royce, seeking to draw attention to Donald Trump’s move to revoke a special status protecting certain immigrants from deportation, when Daniel Wenzek slowly drove his car into the crowd, according to the Brea Police Department, 30 miles south east of Los Angeles.

People began “beating on Wenzek’s car” in response, the police department said, after which Mr Wenzek was arrested and charged. No serious injuries were reported, and the police did not release any information about Mr Wenzek’s potential motive. It is not clear if he has yet entered a plea.

A video shot by one of the attendees during Thursday's incident shows protesters marching through the street, banging drums and lofting signs, as a car starts blaring its horn and slowly pushing through the crowd.

One demonstrator leaps on the hood and others beat its windows with drum sticks as screams begin to ring out. Police officers then encircle the car and begin speaking to the driver.

Despite the lack of serious injuries, the sight of a car driving through a mass of protesters conjured a bloodier confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year, when a car killed one woman after ploughing into people protesting a neo-Nazi rally.

The president of SEIU United Service Workers West, a labour organisation whose members attended the protest, linked the assault to the larger political landscape. In the aftermath of Charlottesville Mr Trump faced fierce criticism for equating left-wing counterprotesters with white supremacists.

Nazi shouts "Hey n****" and fires gunshot at counter-protester in Charlottesville

“Unfortunately, such hateful crimes have been fostered by the climate of fear and division established by the Trump Administration, and vehicular attacks have actually been actively promoted by the forces right-wing extremism”, David Huerta said in a statement.

In response to the incident, Mr Royce released a statement condemning “in the strongest possible terms any and all violence”.

“There is no room for physical confrontation or actions that put lives at risk”, Mr Royce said.

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