Police deployed pepper balls in the streets of Phoenix on Tuesday night as protests raged on after President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE delivered a fiery, campaign-style speech in the city.
Scores of demonstrators gathered ahead of the rally, which came more than a week after Trump drew broad criticism for his remarks in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Va.
As supporters of the president lined up outside the Phoenix Convention Center earlier Tuesday, anti-Trump protesters stood across the street, chanting and waving signs bearing slogans, like "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A."
The demonstrators also set up a giant inflatable effigy of Trump dressed in a white robe that bore a swastika.
Trump portrayed perfectly at Phoenix protest where is expected to speak soon pic.twitter.com/ngLoAx4l4u— Gary FrostGermanotta (@frostygary) August 22, 2017
But after Trump took the stage to deliver a defiant speech defending his remarks in the wake of Charlottesville and slamming the media, police deployed the pepper balls.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the use of pepper balls. Initial reports said tear gas had been deployed, but further statements from the local Phoenix police department clarified that the loud bangs and gas filling the street came from pepper balls.
Got statement from Phoenix PD Sgt Jonathan Howard. Pepper spray was used to disperse crowds and there have been no arrests as of this time pic.twitter.com/bSROQVqqaY— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) August 23, 2017
Police just fired teargas canisters on the north side of the Phoenix convention center pic.twitter.com/3L9Bzcj6bE— Bob Ortega (@Bob_Ortega) August 23, 2017
Tear gas fired. Not sure why. pic.twitter.com/QhRMtw9THJ— Roque Planas (@RoqPlanas) August 23, 2017
Trump has come under intense scrutiny over the past 10 days after making equivocal remarks about the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, in which he blamed "many sides" for the violence.
In his rally speech Tuesday, Trump insisted that he sufficiently condemned hate groups and blamed the news media for not covering his remarks accurately.