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Hundreds turn out for Phoenix rally after Charlottesville violence

(Twitter Photo/@evnaacp)

PHOENIX — Protests, rallies and vigils were held nationwide Sunday in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Phoenix was one of the cities to participate.

Hundreds of people attended a gathering called “Phoenix Against Hate” held at Phillips Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church near the cross-sections of Washington and 14th streets in downtown Phoenix.

Black Lives Matter Phoenix and East Valley NAACP set up the rally to begin at 4 p.m. at the church.

The plan was for a prayer vigil and a community conversation about what happened in Charlottesville on Saturday.

One woman was killed after the town descended into violence when neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered to “take America back” and oppose plans to remove a Confederate statue in the Virginia college town. Hundreds of other people came to protest the rally. The groups clashed in street brawls, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and beating each other with sticks and shields.

Eventually, a car rammed into a peaceful crowd of anti-white-nationalist protesters, killing a woman. A state police helicopter monitoring the events crashed into the woods, killing two troopers. In all, dozens of people were injured. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but a suspect has been arrested.

Disturbing images were seen throughout the nation of the swastika firmly planted on signs being held by the white nationalists who were protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

In response to the signs displaying the swastika, many rally-goers in Phoenix had similar signs with the swastika crossed out.

Elected officials were invited to attend the rally.

So many people attended that the church ran out of room for them all.

A similar rally took place in Tucson, with thousands of people in attendance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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