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Trump rally in Phoenix draws protesters from both sides

Police use pepper spray to break up protesters gathered outside of the Phoenix, Arizona, Convention Center where US President Donald Trump spoke at a “Make America Great Again” rally on August 22, 2017. (Laura Segall/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump rally in Phoenix draws protesters from both sides

Temperatures and tempers ran hot as President Trump prepared to hold a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday evening. Crowds of Trump supporters and protesters feuded in the triple-digit heat outside the event, while many wondered whether the president would launch an attack on his critics inside the Republican Party.

Police attempted to keep Trump’s fans away from the protesters, many of whom carried signs that criticized the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month. The dueling crowds did taunt each other across fences and, at times, the lines were crossed. At one point, a group of protesters carrying a sign that declared “F*** Trump” and one that blended the presidential “45” with a Nazi swastika walked alongside the long line of the president’s supporters. The anti-Trump contingent drew an angry response from the president’s supporters, who stretched in long lines around the building that reportedly included some Trump fans who waited outside since Monday night.

“Get back on the other side!” shouted one of the Trump supporters.

“Get a job!” yelled another.

The Trump supporters cheered as a loud roar of motorcycles erupted from a nearby street.

“That’s Bikers for Trump!” one said, referencing a group of motorcyclists that formed during last year’s election to provide security for pro-Trump events.

Many of the protesters in Phoenix chanted “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” Some also carried photos of Heather Heyer, a young woman who was killed at a right wing rally in Charlottesville when a neo-Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of protesters. Two police officers were also killed after their helicopter crashed as they attempted to respond to clashes between the right-wing rallygoers and protesters.

Trump was widely criticized for his responses to the chaos in Charlottesville as he blamed “both sides” for the violence rather than focusing on the white supremacists who came to the rally. The president also empathized with the rally attendees concern about the removal of Confederate monuments.

The crowds outside Trump’s Phoenix rally also included several groups taking advantage of Arizona’s “open carry” laws and brandishing rifles. One group of camouflage-clad men armed with assault rifles repeatedly said “no comment” as Yahoo News asked them why they came to the rally. Another group with guns and camp had signs identifying them as the John Brown Gun Club. One of the members offered a quick explanation of their presence.  READ MORE by Hunter Walker/Yahoo News >>>

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