A peaceful protest outside Phoenix Convention Center turned violent, after President Trump held a campaign-like rally on Tuesday night.
People started gathering at around 4 pm PST at a city park a few blocks away from the rally. The high temperatures did not stop hundreds of people from standing, chanting and protesting Trump’s visit.
— Puente Arizona (@PuenteAZ) August 23, 2017
The protest remained peaceful until the Trump rally ended. Police then started dispersing the crowd by throwing tear gas at people.
María Castro, an organizer for Puente Arizona was at the protest. “Instead of telling us to go home, they started to throw tear gas at the crowd,” Castro told Latino Rebels.
Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Jonathan Howard told CNN that “people in the crowd began fighting and throwing rocks and bottles at police.”
Children who attended the protest were hurt. Roque Planas of HuffPost tweeted a video of a girl being pepper-sprayed by the police.
— Roque Planas (@RoqPlanas) August 23, 2017
Organizations such as Puente Arizona helped coordinate the protest “to show the rest of the country what it looks like to fight white supremacy particularly after Charlottesville,” Castro said. “Donald needs to be protested loud and clear.”
On Wednesday morning, organizers and activists stood outside the Phoenix Convention Center to condemn the actions of Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton and the police department.
“You [Mayor Stanton] failed us. The police department failed us, hurting kids, the elderly and everyone that came together peacefully,” Francisca Porchas of Puente Arizona said during the press conference.
On Tuesday night, the President spent almost 15 minutes explaining his Charlottesville statements, often blaming the media for not covering him accurately. Later, he said that former Sheriff Joe Arpaio doesn’t have to worry about his recent conviction for contempt.
“I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s going to be just fine, OK? But—but I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy. Is that OK? All right? But Sheriff Joe can feel good,” Trump said.
After the rally, Puente Arizona’s Carlos García released a statement, criticizing Trump.
“His nod to Arpaio is the latest sign of the white supremacy that is governing the White House and it will not be pardoned,” García said. “There is no negotiating with his hate agenda. There is only resisting it.”
Organizers are planning to stand outside the Phoenix City council building on August 30 to protest the city’s action during Tuesday’s rally.