Hundreds of protesters gathered in a free-speech zone outside of the Dream City Church in Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon, demonstrating against President Trump as he spoke to supporters inside.
At about 4:30 p.m., the Phoenix Police Department declared that the peaceful protest was considered an unlawful assembly "due to criminal activity and a current danger to our community," and demonstrators had to leave the area. Police arrived in riot gear and shot projectiles into the crowd, leaving demonstrators confused over the escalation, The Arizona Republic reports.
Khiry Wilson, a leader with the local protest group W.E. Rising Project, told The Arizona Republic organizers had no idea why officers were dispatched in riot gear. Wilson said demonstrators listened when officers told them to back up, but "they kept coming to us closer. The next thing they did was back up so close to us that they pushed a riot shield into one of our nonviolent protesters' face and it was assault from the Phoenix PD. It was assault plain and simple. They shot shotguns in people's ears."