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Donald Trump campaign escorts non-supporters out of Vermont rally

Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump jeer at protesters during a campaign rally in Burlington, Vermont January 7, 2016.

REUTERS

Last Updated Jan 7, 2016 11:14 PM EST

Ahead of a rally in Burlington, Vermont Thursday night, Donald Trump's campaign asked people at the door of the Flynn Center for the Arts if they were supporters. If the attendees did not give a verbal "yes," they were escorted out.

Multiple witnesses told CBS News that they saw people escorted out even if they responded that they were at the event to "learn" more about Trump. In a statement to CBS, Trump claimed that more than 20,000 people showed up for 1,400 spots.

"I'm taking care of my people, not people who don't want to vote for me or are undecided," he said. "They are loyal to me and I am loyal to them."

2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain was criticized for a similar move at an Iowa event during his campaign.

Trump spoke for more than an hour in Burlington, and in spite of the efforts to fill the venue with supporters, there were about eight interruptions from protesters. Trump handled them in varied ways, at times expressing frustration with security for not moving faster.

"Okay, security, move a little faster please. Thank you, security. Yeah get him out of here."

For one protester, Trump said, "Confiscate his coat! Tell him we'll send it to him in a couple weeks." After another interruption, Trump simply called the protesters "rude." At another point, Trump mocked his own security team - saying that they were meekly asking protesters to leave at the beginning, but that as the rally went on, they were getting tougher.

Trump also used the opportunity to take a dig at Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"The first time it happened was a couple months ago, and I was really nasty," he said of protesters interrupting his events. "I tell you one thing. We all like Bernie... But how about when the two young women took over his microphone? They came up screaming at him and he retreated... That won't happen with me. I promise. I promise. I promise... I tell you what, that was so embarrassing to watch that."

Meanwhile, about 500 protesters gathered outside the venue to voice anti-Trump slogans. The chants included, "Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay, Donald Trump, Go Away!"

Trump on Thursday night also unveiled a new campaign promise: to eliminate gun-free zones.

"I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools. You have to," he said. "I know on military bases. My first day it gets signed, OK? My first day. There's no more gun free zone. I mean, think of it. A gun-free zone on a military base with some of the best soldiers we have sitting there relaxing, watching television, no gun. Guy walks in kills all of them. OK? That ends immediately."

Trump's remarks came on the same night President Obama sat down for a televised town hall on CNN to discuss his new executive actions to curb gun violence.

CBS News' Catherine Cannon contributed to this report.