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US: Indian-American presidential aspirant Vivek's car rammed by protesters in Iowa, police find no evidence

Ramaswamy's campaign team alleged that two protesters had hurled profanities at him before fleeing the scene. In the first Republican primary debate, the Indian-American entrepreneur vehemently opposed US aid to Ukraine.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee DES MOINES Updated on: October 06, 2023 18:47 IST
Indian-American presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy
Image Source : AP Indian-American presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy interacting with supporters in Iowa.

Indian-American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who is one of the Republican contenders for the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, has alleged that two protesters rammed their vehicle into his campaign's car in Iowa in anger over his strong opposition to providing aid to Ukraine.

Members of Ramaswamy's campaign team shared photos and videos of the car being damaged by two protesters, aged 22 and 26, as he visited Saints Rest Coffee House in Grinnell, Iowa on Thursday. The protesters then allegedly hurled profanities at him, showed him an obscene sign and drove off after ramming his car.

"Had a civil exchange with protestors today, right before two of them then got into their car & rammed it into ours. Those two should be held accountable, but the rest of the peaceful protestors shouldn’t be tarred by the behavior of two bad actors," the 38-year-old entrepreneur said on X.

The Indian-American presidential aspirant was uninjured as he was not present in the vehicle at that time. He later said in a statement that protesters "went too far" when his vehicle was rammed and the driver showed his team the middle finger before driving off.

Ramaswamy's campaign blamed the incident on protesters who they said were angry about his remarks on assistance for Ukraine, claiming that they yelled and swore at the presidential candidate before jumping into a vehicle, ramming the campaign car and speeding off.

"Things clearly escalated. (Ramaswamy) is used to dealing with protesters and handled it very calmly. So he was maybe a little more calm about it than the rest of us," said his spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin.

During the event, protestors had signs that read “Trans rights are human rights,” “Protect public schools” and “Stop fossil fuels. Climate change is real". Most of these issues are opposed by Ramaswamy, particularly on climate change which he terms as a "hoax".

Police find no evidence of the crash

However, the Grinnell Police Department issued a statement on Thursday, where it said that "our investigation has revealed no evidence to substantiate the claim" that protesters purposefully hit Ramaswamy's vehicle and drove off.

The police investigation showed that a person had eaten lunch at a restaurant and accidentally backed out of a parking spot into Ramaswamy's campaign vehicle. "(The driver) stated she was not in the area to protest, she did not know who the vehicle she struck belonged to, she did not intentionally back into the vehicle, and she did not flee the scene of the accident," the police said.

However, the Ramaswamy campaign team maintained their stance that the protesters intentionally hit the vehicle and drove off, sharing pictures on social media. "The police never contacted us about the statement," said McLaughlin.

The campaign also shared a 15-second video clip to the Register that shows Ramaswamy walking in Grinnell, speaking on a private phone call while the driver of a blue Honda honks and appears to flip off the candidate.

In the first Republican primary debate, Ramaswamy called it “disastrous” that the US government was “protecting against an invasion across somebody else’s border” and argued Ukraine funding would be better spent on the “invasion of our own southern border".

(with PTI inputs)

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