Phoenix prepares for Trump's campaign-style rally next week

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-18 17:10:17|Editor: An
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by Huang Heng

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Residents, policemen and mayor of Phoenix in the southwestern state of Arizona, are preparing for a campaign-style rally planned by U.S. President Donald Trump amid fear of an uproar just like the violence in Charlottesville of Virginia.

The event is scheduled for next Tuesday and will be held by Trump in Arizona's capital city of Phoenix.

To relieve the nervousness of local residents, Chief of Phoenix Police Department Jeri Williams issued a statement Thursday on the rally.

Williams said the Phoenix Police Department had officers assigned to 24/7 monitor and evaluate activities that could impact local communities.

"By now, you probably have heard that President Trump is coming to Phoenix for a rally on Tuesday, Aug. 22. While Phoenix is not immune from critical incidents, I want you to know that your city is working hard to ensure another safe event," the Police chief said in the statement.

On Wednesday, Phoenix Mayor Stanton also posted a statement on his official Twitter, criticizing Trump for holding the rally and calling on the president to cancel the event, as the date is too close to the weekend's violence in Charlottesville.

"I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville," Stanton said, "It is my hope that more sound judgment prevails and that he delays his visit."

On Aug. 12, a rally staged by white nationalists in Charlottesville turned violent. After hours brawls between the pro-rally far-right figures and anti-racism protesters, a sport car ploughed into crowd against the rally, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

In another incident, two troopers were killed after a police helicopter crashed 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Charlottesville.

Mike, a local high school teacher who refused to provide his first name,told Xinhua that he has been keeping a close eye on the event in Charlottesville and felt disappointed to Trump's remarks on violence, racism and white supremacy.

"Trump is very capricious on the event, and he said there are good persons on both sides, which means he believes white extremists are good persons, it really bothers me," he said, adding that he has no plan to downtown next Tuesday to avoid violence and traffic.

Trump kept correcting his vague response to the Charlottesville incident. He issued an initial statement blaming "many sides" for violence, then had to condemn white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan this Monday. However one day late he said the alt-left groups were also "charging at the alt-right with clubs."

Liz, another high school teacher working in Phoenix, told Xinhua that she still remembered her eighth grade students' responses after they knew the result of the presidential election last year, in which reliably red Arizona voted for Trump.

"If it is possible, I will transfer to Canada, student told me," Liz said, "I have been trying my best not to talk about politics in my classroom, because I really feel puzzled about the current situation."

The mayor also warned Trump not to announce a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Aug. 1 of criminal contempt of court for violating a judge's order to stop racial profiling and detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio, 85-year-old, made national headlines in 1993 when he opened the Tent City jail complex in the Arizona desert near Phoenix to imprison the people he arrested. He forced inmates to sleep in 70 tatty tents on the 100-degree Fahrenheit (37.7 Centigrade) desert floor and wear pink underwear together with tight striped jumpsuits.

Trump told Fox News earlier this week that he is "seriously considering" a pardon for Arpaio, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and could spend up to six months in jail. But many local residents denounced the president's move.

"Only getting 6 months for illegally incarcerating thousands of people is a light sentence," Louis A. Cardona IV, a Puerto Rican immigration told Xinhua, "He should be locked up a lot longer."

"If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation," the Mayor's statement said.

Next Tuesday's rally is Trump's first trip to Arizona after winning the White House and the first trip to the West under mounting criticism for his ambiguous attitude to the white supremacy.

Even though Arizona is a stronghold of Republics, but it's also home to two of Trump's most vocal Republican critics, Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake. The latter was slammed by the president as "toxic" on his tweet on Thursday morning.

(Xinhua reporter An Ran also contributed to the story.)