Roller coaster of emotions among protesters outside state CapitolPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- The day started with hopeful chants and ended with prayers.
For the thousands who gathered outside the capitol today awaiting Governor Brewer's decision on Senate Bill 1070, it was a roller coaster of emotions, one that took a disappointing turn for many protesters when the governor signed the bill into law.
"For us this is perhaps the saddest day in the history of the state," said community activist Alfredo Gutierrez.
Emotions would boil over when, just after the bill was signed, a supporter of the bill who calls himself J.D. walked through the crowd. Police said he antagonized protesters and set off a chaotic chain of events.
People in the crowd began throwing water bottles at the man, and police in riot gear rushed into the crowd to escort him away.
One teenager who threw a water bottle at a police officer was taken into custody, and volunteer Carla Urquidi said she was trampled amidst the mayhem.
"The whole crowd just came toward me, smothered me," she said. "I blacked out and woke up on the other side of the street."
As she recovered, another scuffle broke out on the other side of the capitol involving an ice cream cart. Police arrested a man they said tried to steal the cart, but the scene erupted into confusion. More water bottles were thrown and several more people were arrested.
Nonetheless, the demonstrators remained largely peaceful. But for many, the day of protest was just the beginning.
"This is not the time to give up," said Urquidi, the volunteer who was trampled. "This is the time to stick together as a community, to stick together as a raza, as proud people, and start fighting for the same dream and the same act."
According to the Department of Public Safety there were a total of four arrests made today, a relatively small number considering the crowds.
As for the crowd gathered outside of the capitol, many have brought sleeping bags and they plan to stay the night and continue their demonstrations tomorrow.