Protesters Stake Out Trump In Arizona For First Rally Since Charlottesville Violence

BuzzFeed News Auto 10 months ago

David Mcnew / Getty Images

As Trump supporters made their way out of the Phoenix Convention Center Tuesday night, Phoenix police deployed pepper spray on protesters who remained gathered outside.

The initial clouds of chemical gas were met with confusion by protestors, many of whom did not hear any order to disperse or see any act of aggression.

In a tweet, Phoenix police said they were responding to "criminal behavior" in the area — people throwing rocks and bottles, according to ABC 15.

BuzzFeed News reporters at the protest reported participants were mostly peaceful and stayed behind barricades within the protest zone throughout. Despite this riot police fired multiple rounds of pepper spray balls, flash bangs and rubber projectiles. No dispersal order was given.

A police helicopter hovered overhead 20 min after police began firing and sounded a dispersal order.

Four people were arrested on charges related to the protest, and one person was arrested on an unrelated warrant, Police Chief Jeri Williams said. Two officers were treated for heat exhaustion, she added.

Riot police weren't called in until after Trump's speech had ended.

President Trump arrived in Phoenix Tuesday afternoon and was heckled by protesters as he and his supporters entered the city's convention center.

The campaign-style rally came as Trump continues to face criticism for his response to violence at the Charleston, Virginia, white supremacist rally.

During his speech, President Trump lied about how he responded to Charlottesville and blamed the media for the rise of racists and neo-Nazis in a rambling, almost 90-minute speech.

He blamed the media — singling out the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN — for divisions within the US and accused them of giving a platform to hate groups.

"It is time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions. And yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and heritage. You see that."

Additional reporting by Andrew Kimmel and Claudia Koerner.

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