​Demonstrators protesting Republican presidential contender Donald Trump took to the streets across the U.S. Saturday, with one incident temporarily shutting down a highway leading to a campaign rally for the candidate near Phoenix, Ariz.

Footage of the demonstration in Arizona showed a group of protesters with cars blocking forward traffic, holding signs that read: "Dump Trump" and "Shut Down Trump."

Maricopa County Sheriff Deputy Joaquin Enriquez said officers asked protesters to move and were prepared to forcibly remove them if they didn't comply.

Three people were arrested, the county office said.

trump protest arizona highway

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Vehicles started moving again shortly after 2 p.m. local time, with officers remaining on both sides of the road to ensure the crowd of some two dozen protesters was dispersing.

Later at a rally in Tucson, Ariz., Trump said the protests were "disgraceful," and thanked police.

"They arrested three people and everybody else left... They left!" Trump said to roaring cheers from the audience.

"I love our police, but we should do a little bit more of that, you'd have a lot less protesters, you'd have a lot less agitators," said Trump.

The disruption occurred well after large crowds lined up to get into the Fountain Hills rally, where Trump was scheduled to speak alongside Joe Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff and ally. 

Trump and Arpaio have formed a political alliance based on their tough talk on immigration in recent months, and the brash billionaire hopes Arizona can serve as a model on how he could win in November.

Trump rallies are notoriously rambunctious and often face interruptions from protesters in the audience.

A recent campaign rally in Chicago was cancelled following heated and sometimes physical clashes between protesters and supporters before Trump had even taken the stage

Hundreds protest in New York City

Several hundred demonstrators in New York City gathered Saturday to protest Trump amid heavy police presence.

Demonstrators chanted, "Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay," in Manhattan's Columbus Circle, across from Central Park, before marching to Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper where Trump lives.

Then they marched back to Columbus Circle for a rally.

Anti-Trump rally in NYC1:45

The crowd of mostly young people chanted and carried placards denouncing the Republican presidential hopeful. Some of them said police used pepper spray on them as they left the park and started marching.

One sign read, "Love Trumps Hate." Another read, "Will trade 1 Donald Trump for 25,000 refugees."

The protest was largely peaceful though there was one tense moment when some protesters tried to break through a police barricade.

Police were seen taking at least one person into custody, but a spokesman for the New York Police Department could not immediately confirm whether any arrests were made or whether pepper spray was used.

Various groups including immigrants' rights activists and socialists organized the protest.

With files from The Associated Press