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Phoenix police deploy tear gas on protesters as Trump rally ends

After hours of largely peaceful protests, clashes broke out Tuesday night between police and protesters at a rally held by President Trump in downtown Phoenix.

Once the president's speech was done, some protesters attemptedĀ to move barricades that were holding back the anti-Trump crowds. Police issued a warning, then fired tear-gas canisters. Thick plumes of smoke filled the air.

"Some people in the crowd began fighting and throwing rocks and bottles at police," said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard, who said officers "reportedly dispersed gas into the area."

In an earlier tweet, the Police Department said officers were "addressing criminal behavior near 2nd St. & Monroe," which is the northwest corner of the convention center where Trump spoke.

American Civil Liberties Union lawyers offered to aid those who felt their rights had been violated.

"Between Trump's attacks on the press and Phoenix PD's attacks on protesters, this has not been a good night for the 1stĀ Amendment," tweeted the national ACLU deputy legal director, Cecillia Wang.

"This is crazy, so crazy. Everything was great until the end," said Phoenix resident Mira Ramirez, 20, who came to protest against the president.

Some demonstrators donned gas masks as the air thickened with smoke.

After the initial round of tear gas, most protesters dispersed from the convention center area. However, several dozen remained and congregated in the street a few blocks away. A police helicopter circled overhead, warning them at least half a dozen times to leave. Finally, after about 45 minutes, the scene was clear.

Police said later there were four arrests.

UPDATE 10:59 p.m.: The post was updated with news of four arrests.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: The post was updated with the dispersal of most of the last protesters.

UPDATE 9:29 p.m.: The post was updated with statements from police and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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