Police Use Tear Gas, Protesters Arrested Outside Trump Rally In Arizona

Matt York/AP

Thousands gathered outside of President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona Tuesday night, in what was a mostly peaceful protest that ended with police dispelling tear gas toward the end when protesters reportedly tried to move barricades, according to multiple media outlets.

Five people were arrested at the protest, but one person was arrested on an unrelated warrant, Phoenix police told the Associated Press.

The streets surrounding the convention center where Trump’s rally was held were packed by 3:00 p.m., CNN reported. Supporters waited in lines outside the center, while protesters were kept on the other side of the street, holding anti-Trump signs protesting white supremacy and many of the President’s policies.

Several supporters wore purple in memory of Heather Heyer, the Charlottesville, Virginia woman who was killed when a white nationalist allegedly drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in the city earlier this month.

News outlets reported that Tuesday’s protest was fueled by the President’s response to the violence in Charlottesville and his failure to immediately denounce white supremacists. He also blamed both sides for the violence that erupted at the rally.

There was even a large inflatable Trump doll present, wearing a white Ku Klux Klan robe next to a large sign that said “Make America Hate Again.”

Once Trump finished his speech, some protestors attempted to move a barricade keeping them on one side of the street. Police warned the protesters not to move it and then fired tear-gas canister, the LA Times reported.

Local media reported that pepper balls were also deployed.

Some protestors said they were given no warning before police detonated the tear gas.

A Phoenix police spokesman told the LA Times that some people threw rocks and bottles at police.

The Arizona branch of the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted just before 1:00 a.m. local time, saying they were willing to defend any protesters who felt their right to peacefully assemble had been violated.

No injuries were reported and a small group of protesters remained after the clash with police around midnight, according to the Associated Press.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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