KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has become so exasperated with the protesters who interrupt his campaign rallies that he announced Saturday night that he wants police to start arresting them.
"I hope these guys get thrown into a jail," Trump said during a rally at a historic theater in Kansas City on Saturday night that was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. "They'll never do it again. It'll destroy their record. They'll have to explain to mom and dad why they have a police record and why they can't get a job. And you know what? I'm going to start pressing charges against all of these people. And then we won't have a problem."
Trump has placed blame for the disruptive protesters, who sometimes violently clash with his supporters, on his Democratic rivals, especially Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump said that the reason he has protesters at his rallies when other candidates do not is that his fans are respectful enough to not interrupt a rival's rally.
In the past two weeks, the number of protesters at most of Trump's rallies has increased, and Trump had to cancel a Friday night rally in Chicago after thousands of protesters gathered inside and outside the venue. At a series of rallies on Saturday, Trump said that the cause of the cancellation was a violation of his free speech rights, along with those of his supporters.
In Kansas City on Saturday night, Trump struggled to complete his sentences as dozens of protesters shouted criticisms and were escorted out by security officers. Outside, hundreds more protesters lined the streets and loudly chanted. Kansas City Police officials said they twice used pepper spray to control the crowds and made two arrests.
Protesters and journalists posted videos online showing police spraying large canisters of pepper spray on protesters, once to break up a fight and a second time when a line of protesters joined arms and started walking into a closed-off street, pushing into mounted police.
Later in the evening, as the rally ended and the crowd thinned, at least two officers still carried the canisters.
Protesters who are removed from Trump's rallies are rarely arrested -- a practice that the candidate says he wants to end. The topic came up when Trump wondered aloud what happens to the protesters.
"What do they do? Do they arrest these people? What happens? Do they arrest them? Or they just put them outside?" Trump said. "I hope they arrest these people because they are really violating all of us… I hope they're arresting because, honestly, they should be."
Trump then declared that this would be his policy going forward: Protesters will get "a big arrest mark." Trump said he's willing to file charges or do whatever is needed to have them arrested.
"I hope you arrest 'em and do whatever you have to do," Trump said. "And you know what? Once that starts happening, we're not going to have any more protesters, folks. We're not going to have any more protesters."
Later in the evening, Trump said he doesn't like seeing people arrested but that he has no choice. At one point, he heard the voice of a protester and said: "Did I hear a voice back there? Oh, do I hear somebody who wants to go to prison?"
Trump continued: "I don't want to do that. I don't want to ruin somebody's life. They're probably good kids, you know? They're probably good kids. I don't want to ruin peoples lives.
"But the only way we're going to stop this craziness is if we press charges, because then their lives are going to be ruined," he said. "They're going to know that their lives are going to be ruined. So I'll just tell you folks, from now on, if you do anything, we're pressing charges."