LOS ANGELES -- Hillary Clinton headed to East Los Angeles Thursday night in honor of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo -- but her rally in this predominantly Hispanic part of L.A. was anything but celebratory.
Hundreds of protesters descended upon East Los Angeles College to express their disdain for the Democratic presidential front-runner. Most of the protesters remained outside the college, although some made their way inside.
The protesters -- some of whom carried pro-Bernie Sanders signs -- spanned the spectrum in terms of their key issues: Some were protesting Clinton's refusal so far to release her speaking engagement transcripts and her ties to Wall Street, while others took issue with Clinton's "super-predator" remarks in 1994, and the crime bill her then-president husband signed that year. Others also headed to Clinton's rally to protest her involvement in the 2009 Honduras coup, and to accuse her of pandering to the Hispanic community.
Maritza Galvez, a 21-year-old student at the college, carried a sign that read, “We only matter when it’s Cinco de Mayo.” A man, who was leading a crowd, shouted into a loud speaker, "Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party have to know that they cannot come to Los Angeles, occupy Mexico on Cinco de Mayo, and think that we are not going to come out and denounce them!”
Other signs read: “Black Lives Matter Not Super-predators,” “Hillary Do You Friends Make $12 or $15?” “Viva Bernie!” “NAFTA? IRAQ WAR? HONDURAS? Hmmm?” “Release the Transcripts,” “CALIFORNIA WHERE THE CLINTON & TRUMP SCAM WILL BE EXPOSED," and “Welcome to LA Where Hispandering to Chicanos Doesn’t Work!!!”
One sign specifically stood out: It was a giant photo of the Clintons with GOP front-runner Donald Trump at his Florida wedding -- an obvious nod that Clinton's relationship with Trump was not always so acrimonious.
There was a large police presence outside the college, with LAPD officers on horses blocking off areas with yellow tape. There were also a few LAPD helicopters flying overhead.
After the event, protesters formed two long lines along a narrow pathway and aggressively yelled out at Clinton supporters as they exited the rally. “She’s a liar! Liar! Why are you voting for a liar?” one man shouted. Others chanted, “Hillary Fuera East LA!” (meaning “get out”).
Inside, Clinton was confronted on the rope line by a protester who was quickly surrounded by police and taken out. And during her remarks, one woman, who appeared to be protesting Clinton’s role in the 2009 coup in Honduras, shouted loudly, “She killed Berta! She killed Berta!” — referring to Berta Caceres, a Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader, who called out Clinton for her role in the coup, before being assassinated in March.
As this was happening, Clinton supporters countered with chants of “Hillary! Hillary!”
Clinton acknowledged her supporters' chants, telling them, “I mean this crowd is ready, aren’t you? I mean, I can’t do this without you.”
Likely because of the commotion, Clinton gave a very short speech by her standards: Just over 13 minutes -- nearly all of which focused on Trump.
Appealing to the largely Hispanic crowd, Clinton hit Trump hard on immigration.
“Just yesterday Donald Trump doubled down on his plan to create a deportation force to round up millions of people, that’s actually what he said," Clinton reminded the rally-goers. "He has pledged in his first days in office to scrap DACA and DAPA. And to finalize a design for a giant wall on the border. Well the best way to prevent that from happening is to make sure he never gets near the White House."
Clinton also acknowledged it was Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.
“I got to start by saying, that on Cinco de Mayo," she said, "I can’t think of a better place to be than right here.”