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Protesters rally against Joe Arpaio’s visit to Las Vegas

A small group of protesters chanted and held signs on the Strip in opposition to recently pardoned former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s visit to Las Vegas Saturday night.

A few dozen protesters gathered at the southeast corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard about 5:30 p.m. in anticipation of the visit by the former longtime sheriff of the Arizona county that includes Phoenix. Arpaio was set to speak Saturday night at the Conservative Leadership Conference, where the group was to present him with its Courage Under Fire Award.

Chuck Muth, a GOP advocate and conservative group Citizen Outreach president, said the dinner’s location was moved in anticipation of protesters. Reached earlier this week, he did not say where the event would be held. Muth did not respond to multiple requests for comment Saturday.

Protest organizer Yesenia Moya, 28, was one of several demonstrators leading chants lambasting Arpaio’s policies and practices as a lawman. Moya called it “a slap in the face” for Arpaio to be honored on Mexican Independence Day, adding many his office detained were Mexican immigrants.

“Las Vegas was built on the back of immigrants,” Moya said.

The protesters stood behind metal barricades, while bystanders looked on and multiple Metropolitan Police Department officers kept watch nearby. Many drivers passing the protesters honked in solidarity. A couple passersby shouted their support of Arpaio from afar, but otherwise the protesters remained mostly undisturbed.

President Donald Trump recently pardoned the former sheriff, who was convicted of contempt in July for refusing to obey a court order telling his department to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio’s visit also followed Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young undocumented immigrants who moved to the U.S. as children to continue living in the States.

Bullhorn in hand, Fawn Douglas voiced many common criticisms of the former sheriff, such as holding his inmates in outdoor tents in the Arizona heat. She called the protest a success and expressed gratitude toward Metro officers for protecting the protesters.

Roland Quiros, 28, held a sign with the phrase “no human is illegal.” He said he was protesting police brutality and white supremacy, as well as Trump’s pardon.

“We can’t just let that go,” he said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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