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Police spray tear gas at protesters following Trump's Phoenix rally

PHOENIX, AZ (CNN) - What began as a peaceful protest outside the Phoenix Convention Center turned chaotic Tuesday evening as police officers used tear gas to manage the thousands protesting President Donald Trump's rally there.

The protests come more than a week after demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, where clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors turned violent and resulted in one death. Trump drew widespread condemnation for his response to the Virginia clashes, in which he blamed "both sides" for the violence.

A police helicopter circled overhead crowds of protesters, telling them to leave the area. Other officers on the ground urged remaining protesters to disperse or be arrested for unlawful assembly.

"People in the crowd began fighting and throwing rocks and bottles at police," Sgt. Jonathan Howard, of the Phoenix Police Department, said in a statement to CNN. "They also dispersed some gas in the area. Police have responded with pepper balls and oc (pepper) spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd and stop the assaults."

Two people were arrested for aggravated assault and one person was arrested for criminal damage, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference. The fourth arrest was made due to an unrelated warrant, Williams said. Two officers were treated for heat exhaustion, Williams said, but no officers were injured during the protests.

 

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