Monday 16 July 2018

Dramatic pictures show the protests outside Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix

There were clashes with police.

Protesters raise their hands after Phoenix police used tear gas
Protesters raise their hands after Phoenix police used tear gas

By Kameron Virk

Donald Trump’s first political event since the violence in Charlottesville has been met with charged protests.

Images show police trying to disperse crowds with tear gas as thousands lined the streets in Phoenix protesting over the “politics of hate”.

What started peacefully ended with clouds of gas filling the sky, with police claiming they responded after protesters threw rocks and bottles.

Thousands of Trump supporters had gathered for the rally, where the president pulled out copies of his speeches regarding the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville more than a week ago.

Smoke billows after Phoenix police used tear gas outside the Phoenix Convention Center

Accusing the “dishonest” media of selectively choosing his quotes, Trump said: “I hit them with neo-Nazi. I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazi. I got them all in there. Let’s see. KKK, we have KKK.”

Trump omitted his widely criticised comment from August 15, when he blamed “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.

The president also appeared to mention Confederate statues, saying: “They’re trying to take away our culture. They’re trying to take away our history.”

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center

Outside, protesters had been gathering all day, carrying signs and megaphones, with many climbing the stairs of a car park opposite the convention centre where Trump held his rally.

People protest from a parking garage outside the Phoenix Convention Center
People protest outside the Phoenix Convention Center

Police were vigilant in case of clashes like those seen in Charlottesville, where counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed after she was mown down by a car.

A number of people at the Phoenix protest said they were there for her.

Others carried signs against fascism and racism.

Protesters yell after Phoenix police used tear gas
People protest outside the Phoenix Convention Cente
Protesters in front of police

As well as tear gas, police also lobbed what they said was pepper spray.

Protesters leave the scene after Phoenix police used tear gas

Trump used part of his speech in the state, which borders Mexico, to whip up scenes reminiscent of his campaign rallies.

The president helped lead chants of “build the wall”, according to CNN, saying: “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

The Phoenix Police Department said four people were arrested at the protest, plus one who was arrested on an unrelated warrant.

These protests followed ones in Boston at the weekend where around 40,000 counter-demonstrators were estimated to have attended a white supremacist “free speech” rally.

Press Association

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