Police were forced to release tear gas into the crowd of people who had taken to the streets of Phoenix to protest against the recent police shooting of two African-American men. Close to 600 people gathered on 8 July, for what was supposed to be a peaceful rally from City Hall to the Downtown District but at the last minute, protest leader Reverend Jarrett Maupin told local media that the rally would make its way to Interstate-10 to block traffic.

Maupin backtracked on the new plan later but many of the protesters continued to make their way towards the I-10 at Seventh Avenue shouting slogans like "No justice, no peace". Police created a barricade at Fillmore Street and going by footage and reports from the scene, began to spray tear gas into the crowd gathered there at around 10.30pm MST.

"We don't want an incident here," said chief Joe Yahner of the Phoenix Police Department. "We want people to do their protest ... have a good time, if that's what they want to do, but we want everybody to be safe.

"We're going to be professional, but we're going to do everything we can to make everybody safe," he said. "We want them to have that on their mind."

The rally was held to protest the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, both black men, by policemen. Organisers were requested to delay the march, following the mass shooting in Dallas in which five police officers were killed and another six wounded, but Maupin said that no changes would be made. "It's just unfortunate the tragedy in Dallas complicates things," he mentioned in a statement.

Dallas Police Shootings
Dallas Police Chief David Brown prays during a vigil at Thanks-Giving square in Dallas on 8 July 2016 AFP/Getty