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Protesters clash with Donald Trump supporters outside Virginia rally

Donald Trump kicked off his first general election swing with a rally in Richmond, Virginia -- and did so in front of a lot of empty seats.

Trump held a rally Friday night at the Richmond Coliseum, a downtown sports arena that has a capacity of nearly 12,000. But as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee took the stage, the arena featured section upon section of empty seats and was no more than a third full.

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A panorama snapshot of the Richmond Coliseum shortly before Donald Trump took the stage. Several sections of seats remained empty throughout the night. CBS/Alan He


Outside the rally, however, more than 100 Trump protesters marched through downtown streets and squared off against some supporters of the bombastic billionaire, just minutes before Trump took the stage.

The altercations began when a small contingent of rally-goers in Trump gear walked through the mass of Trump protesters late in the evening, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The two sides yelled at each other and there was isolated shoving before police swarmed in and pulled them apart.

"These racists are going to know that they can't (expletive) come to Richmond without expecting a fight," Alejandro Sosa, a 21-year-old protest organizer, said at a rally, according to the local paper. "We were outnumbered four to one and they're still scared. Only a few of 'em came out. And look what happened."

BuzzFeed News reporter Ellie Hall documented some of the signage from the rally and posted photos to Twitter.

The anti-Trump demonstrators chanted, "No KKK, no fascists, USA, no Trump" as they marched around the arena. Others took a more explicit tact, calling out "F--- Trump!"

Inside the Coliseum, however, Trump claimed he was "the least racist person you'll see."

The Richmond rally was far from the first instance of protests turning violent at a Trump event.

Demonstrators at Trump's west coast rallies have turned rowdy in several cities in California, including one event last week in San Jose where anti-Trump activists attacked several backers of the GOP candidate with punches and thrown eggs. One officer during that rally was even assaulted.

Trump's Richmond rally came just after a stop in Williamsburg, Virginia, where the Republican party's presumptive nominee attempted to court several prominent GOP lawmakers.

Trump stopped at the "Senators Classic" golf tournament, where at least 20 senators were in attendance, according to a Politico report. The gathering included Sens. John Thune of South Dakota, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Rand Paul of Kentucky (a one-time primary race rival to Trump), and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Trump will hold more events Saturday in two other swing states, Florida and Pennsylvania.

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