The mayor of Phoenix in Arizona urged Donald Trump to delay a planned rally in the city amid fears that recent tensions could lead to mass protests. Trump announced a rally to take place on the 22 August at the Phoenix Convention Center in the days following the violence in Charlottesville.
But there are concerns that soaring temperatures, a tense political climate, and two rival rallies could create chaos on the streets of Phoenix, which is the fifth most populated city in the US. Mayor Greg Stanton said: "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.
"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 tensions and further divide our nation,"
"It is my hope that more sound judgement prevails and that he delays his visit."
It has been widely reported that Trump plans to pardon Arpaio, who was a controversial law enforcement officer in Arizona for almost 25 years. Trump seemingly confirmed his intentions by retweeting a Fox News story about the possible pardon.
Arpaio forced inmates to wear pink underwear to prevent them being stolen as they were released. But most controversially, Arpaio set up a Tent City to act as an extension to the Maricopa County Jail. Temperatures in the tents at times reached more than 60 degrees celsius.
When inmates complained about faulty fans not working in the heat, Arpaio said: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths."
The temperatures are one concern for city officials ahead of the Trump rally. The forecast for Phoenix over the next week is expected to see the mercury rise to more than 40 degrees celsius, with fears that rival rallies and the searing heat could spark a more serious conflict.
"With regard to use of the Phoenix Convention Center for the rally: This is a public facility and open to anyone to rent, including the Trump campaign," Mayor Stanton said.
"Our Constitution protects the right to free speech, even for those we disagree with or those who don't represent the values we hold dear as a community.
"In preparation for this event, my focus and that of the Phoenix Police Department is on keeping everyone - those attending the rally, those expressing their First Amendment rights outside and the general public - safe."
The announcement of the rally drew concerns from social media users including Devin Duke who said: "That combination of heat and the tensions boiling over from Charlottesville may not bode well for PHX."
And Cait Harding said: "Come on, WH staff. Come on, people of Arizona. At this point, with the tone and tenor of the last few days, this will be an alt-right rally."