Tear gas was used to disperse crowds outside the Phoenix Convention Center as tempers flared around Trump’s speech at a campaign-style rally
Authorities used tear gas to calm down the spirits and disperse the crowds who gathered outside the Phoenix Convention Center. President Trump’s divisive speech at a campaign rally led to tempers flaring around it.
People ran off, streamed into the surrounding streets, coughing and wiping their tears from their eyes. Screams and panic attacks followed soon after.
Police helicopters flew above downtown Phoenix immediately after the speech, suggesting people to leave and threatening to arrest them if not doing so. While there was a lot of tension both before and after the speech, they escalated quickly afterwards and led to an unpleasant situation.
Chief of the Phoenix Police Department Jeri Williams said that officers were attacked with rocks, bottles, as well as with tear gas. More than that, two officers had to be treated for heat exhaustion at a local hospital. She also added that police officers used tear gas and so called pepper balls that emit pepper spray only after they were assaulted, and that they did not use it right from the start.
However, witnesses have a different story, telling that the only thing that happened was a few protesters throwing a water bottle or two in the direction of the police, before officers started firing tear gas into the crowd.
Mayor Greg Stanton said that police allowed people to protest peacefully, and that there had been no serious injuries. However, he also mentioned that officials were on their way to examine whether police’s approach was indeed necessary.
“There’s going to be an after-incident review,” Mr. Stanton said.