This is what happened during Phoenix protest after Trump rally

Aug 25, 2017, 4:55 PM
Smoke billows after Phoenix police used tear gas outside the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Au...

Smoke billows after Phoenix police used tear gas outside the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix. Protests were held against President Donald Trump as he hosted a rally inside the convention center. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — When President Donald Trump took the stage Tuesday night at the Phoenix Convention Center, the area around the building was surrounded by people protesting peacefully.

Less than three hours later, the smell of tear gas and pepper spray hung heavy over some intersections and city crews began cleaning up thousands of leftover water bottles and police barricades.

The nation watched Tuesday as what started as peaceful protests in downtown Phoenix devolved into officers using different chemical means to disperse crowds after several people became violent.

By the end of the day, four people had been arrested.

By the end of the week, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego had called for an investigation into the event and Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said her department would conduct a review.

Here is what happened between 7:08 p.m., when Trump took the stage, and 10:30 p.m., when most of the protesters had left downtown.


7:08 p.m.

Trump took the stage in Phoenix at his rally, the president’s first major event since violence broke out at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

He began his speech by thanking opening speakers and other officials before commenting on the “small crowd” outside.

There were thousands of people outside the convention center, most of them gathered across Monroe Street between Second and Third streets.

Prior to the speech, some attendees said they hoped to hear a message of unity from the president, including U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.

8 p.m.

Things were still relatively peaceful outside. Some troublemakers had begun to argue in the protest crowd, which had continued to grow.

Thousands of the president’s supporters were still in line, hoping to get into the rally.

Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump had touched on the possible pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and bashed both of Arizona’s senators.

8:26 p.m.

Trump wrapped his speech with his signature “make America great again” sign off and the crowd of thousands began to filter out of the facility. The main exit — the skywalk across Second Street — was temporarily delayed but the blockage quickly ended and people began leaving.

Attendees were told to head south after the rally, away from the main body of protesters along the north side of the convention center. Police had formed a physical line of officers between attendees and any other protesters.

Most attendees used Washington Street to travel east or west. Going north was impossible for blocks in each direction.

About this time, protesters started getting violent near Monroe and Second streets.

8:37 p.m.

Minutes after protesters began fighting, at least one person threw some sort of smoke bomb-type device at officers. Others threw rocks and bottles.

Police countered with tear gas and pepperballs.

The scene quickly became chaotic as protesters sought to get out of the way. Police also used flash-bangs.

The tear gas, smoke bombs and other devices left a haze hanging at street level that carried at least one block north to Van Buren Street.

Smoke bomb canisters and other materials were left on the streets as people moved north of Van Buren to continue the protest.

9:15 p.m.

Police used more flash-bangs near Van Buren and Second Streets, which would be the final protest area of the night.

Police established its line along Van Buren Street facing north, while protesters were about a half-block away on Second Street.

9:28 p.m.

Protesters were told things were coming to a close and they had to clear the streets or they risked arrest.

9:37 p.m.

Some protesters continued to block Second Street and engaged in a tense standoff with officers that lasted more than 15 minutes.

During the standoff, a police helicopter circled and warned protesters they could be subject to tear gas or pepperballs if they did not leave the area.

At one point, police advanced toward protesters using their shields and several squad cars as protection. Officers carrying what appeared to be pepperball guns and tear gas launchers were seen.

None of them opened fire.

9:58 p.m.

After the tense standoff, police retreated back to Van Buren Street and began to break down operations. The road was reopened to traffic.

10:46 p.m.

With a few protesters still lingering, Williams announced that four people had been arrested, though that number would later increase slightly.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton commended the police work, and said there were no injuries except for heat-related ones in the area.

KTAR News’ Corbin Carson, Tom Perumean, Tyler Bassett, Carter Nacke, Jessica Suerth, Martha Maurer, Griselda Zetino and Matt Layman contributed to this report.

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This is what happened during Phoenix protest after Trump rally