By Jim DeFede

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Screaming crowds showed up at town halls across the nation to voice their displeasure to lawmakers about President Donald Trump’s policies.

In Arkansas, Sen. Tom Cotton faced an angry constituency.

“We have background checks in place now and any firearms dealer…” he started saying before being interrupted.

“We have a vetting process for refugees,” a protester yelled.

Cotton was drowned out by boos.

But while these scenes played out across the country, they were absent in South Florida as Republican members of Congress avoided the protests by simply not holding town hall meetings.

“We are very, very upset and very distressed that neither Rubio or Representative Lehtinen would be available to answer our questions,” a protester said.

This prompted some angry constituents to take the town halls to their congressional offices, where they complained about everything from the immigration crackdown to the repeal of Obamacare.

“They don’t even have a plan to replace it but they want to get rid of it,” a protester told the crowd.

While Rep. Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen wasn’t in her office, her staff saw the protesters in groups of 15 – although they still weren’t happy when they got upstairs.

“Where is she hiding?” a protester asked.

At about the same time a small and more docile group supporting Planned Parenthood paid Congressman Carlos Curbelo a visit.

President Trump has dismissed the protesters as being little more than paid agitators. But there is little evidence to support that. Instead, they appear to be far more reminiscent of the Tea Party protests of 2009.

Jim DeFede