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Protests break out, tear gas deployed in Phoenix following Trump rally

PHOENIX — The protests were peaceful leading up to President Donald Trump’s rally in downtown Phoenix Tuesday night.

After the rally finished, the downtown Phoenix scene quickly escalated, with protests breaking out.

Phoenix Police said five people, including a juvenile, were arrested but one was not related to the protest. Two people were taken into custody on suspicion of aggravated assault, another for disorderly conduct and a minor was arrested for criminal damage.

Earlier in the week, Police Chief Jeri Williams said “police response to criminal conduct would be professional, decisive, and immediately responsive.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton commended the police work, and said there were no injuries except for heat-related ones in the area. Phoenix Fire treated 56 for heat exhaustion and dehydration, and 12 were taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Stanton also said he didn’t believe those arrested had anything to do with the organizations expressing their opinions Tuesday night.

Police said people started throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Law enforcement responded with pepper balls, pepper spray and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The initial altercation started at about 8:30 p.m.

KTAR News reporters saw flashbangs near Monroe and Third streets and people started to spread back. A second wave by police hit the same area which was much stronger.

People sprinted away coughing with shirts in their mouths.

At 9:15 p.m., KTAR News reporters said protesters were still clashing in the streets and police were continuing to use flash bangs near Van Buren and Second streets.

The Phoenix Police Department reported no arrests had been made yet on the evening when Trump graced the stage in the Phoenix Convention Center.

Trump repeatedly said during his rally that the crowd outside “was small.” When protesters interrupted the president’s speech, he wondered why they didn’t stay outside with the “few people.”

Williams said that tens of thousands of people were outside protesting in the downtown Phoenix area.

KTAR News’ Tyler Bassett, Carter Nacke, Jessica Suerth, Matt Layman, Corbin Carson, Kathy Cline and Tom Perumean contributed to this report.

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