NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Grand Hyatt in Midtown Manhattan Thursday to protest GOP front-runner Donald Trump at the New York State Republican Committee's annual gala.
More than two dozen protesters were arrested, 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported.
WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported some of those protesters made their way inside and up to the balcony level of the hotel, chanting and holding banners.
Lamb said the protesters suddenly burst into an elevator where the press were, describing it as "guerrilla action." Lamb reported people in black ties were watching from the lobby with "looks of horror on their faces."
At least nine protesters made it into the hotel, and they were all pulled out of the front door and put into a police van, D'Auria reported. Several others were arrested outside the hotel.\
Some of the protesters who remained outside hung an effigy of the billionaire businessman and chanted, "How do you spell racist? T-R-U-M-P."
All three Republican candidates will be speaking at the gala.
This came as protests are being held over a Trump appearance at a GOP fundraiser that was held near the site of an immigrant's murder in Patchogue.
Activists said Trump's appearance opens old anti-immigrant wounds in light of his tough talk about building a wall on the Mexican border and other rhetoric and could undo the progress that's been made in the Long Island community.
The gala to raise funds for Republican candidates across eastern Long Island was held in a nightclub about 200 yards from where an Ecuadorean immigrant, Marcelo Lucero, was murdered by a gang of teens in a 2008 hate crime attack.
CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday that supporters paid $150 to attend the fundraiser.
This week at the site of the slaying a sign reads: "Hate is not welcome in Patchogue. Make America Love Again.''
"This is not a reality show, this is not a freaking game. These are real people, human beings with flesh and blood, and they do not deserve to be treated like animals," Rev. Allan Ramirez said.
"Donald Trump has attacked women, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, pretty much anyone he can," resident Dan Fingus. "His hateful message just fans the flames of bigotry that led to the violence that led to the death of Marcelo Lucero."
Joselo Lucero, whose brother was killed in the 2008 attack, says Patchogue is the wrong place for Trump to visit. "My community has suffered so much discrimination.''
A vigil was held Thursday in Marcelo Lucero's memory.
I cam because I feel what Donald Trump is doing is promoting violence and hatred in this country," Mika Kardasz, of Coram, said.
John Jay LaValle, chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee, said Thursday's event was scheduled more than two months ago and he invited every Republican candidate. He said Trump, who was recently been endorsed by the county GOP, accepted only last week.
"While we offer the greatest empathy possible to the family of Marcelo Lucero,'' LaValle said, "We can't help but to be suspicious of the motives of those leading the charge to connect that vicious hate crime with Mr. Trump's commitment to enforcement of immigration laws that have gone largely ignored by both parties for 30 years.''
Tom Wedell, an unemployed contractor , is excited for Trump's appearance.
"He deserves four years of our time and our country to try to get it back on track. These other people have failed us," Wedell said.
There was no comment late Thursday on the controversy from Trump, who caused a firestorm on the first day of his campaign when he labeled illegal immigrants from Mexico as rapists and criminals, and he has repeatedly promised to build a massive wall along the border.
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