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Demonstrators From Across The U.S. Protest Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio In Phoenix

The raucous rally of more than 500 people on Friday made its way from the Phoenix convention center to the Maricopa County sheriff's jail chanting for Arpaio to resign.

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Spurred by the idea that the success of a rally against Sheriff Joe Arpaio would be measured by how many Netroots 15 attendees participated, hundreds of progressives streamed out of the Phoenix convention center to take part Friday.

Facebook: NetrootsNation

Arpaio has been repeatedly sued, including by the Justice Department, over allegations of civil rights violations and racial profiling of Latinos.

People massing at Phoenix convention center for rally against Joe Arpaio #NN15

In scorching 105-degree heat, the demonstrators from across the U.S. marched toward Arpaio's jail, telling how similar issues exist in their home cities.

#NN15 rally against Joe Arpaio begins in Phoenix.

"I can assure you there is a Joe Arpaio in your communities," Marisa Franco, who leads the #Not1More deportation organization, said.

"Arrest Arpaio not the people!" ringing out in front of Phoenix convention center. #NN15

Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina City Countil Speaker in New York City, told BuzzFeed News Arpaio's policies hurt Latinos and over-criminalize low-level offenders.

.@MMViverito NYC city council speaker at Arpaio rally says it's important to denounce him. #NN15

A group of undocumented mothers and activists led the singing of Selena's hit song Como La Flor.

We are dancing in the streets. Literally. In front of Arpaio's HQ. This movement is joyful too. #ArpaioFreeAZ

There were counter-protesters as well. One small group was angry about veteran suicides, while Arthur Olivas claimed Mexicans love Donald Trump, who has described some of them as rapists and criminals.

This man, Arthur Olivas, says he's American, there is no such thing as Mexican-Americans. #NN15

Arriving at the jail under the watchful eye of Phoenix police, who facilitated the protest but also filmed it, activists not personally affected by immigration issues spoke about why they also came out to demonstrate.

One of the women, Janice Porter, 68, of Tucson, wore a rainbow Bernie Sanders button and said she was showing solidarity because Arizona is her state. While the issues don't directly impact her, they hurt people she cares about.

Desiree Vincent, an activist from New York City, said that while immigration isn't her fight, she believes in the #BlackLivesMatter cause, saying "people here are missing their families at the dinner table."

Adrian Carrasquillo/BuzzFeed News

"I'm sweating now marching for 35 minutes," she said, taking a break to lean against a wall. "Imagine the people in tent city."

She was referring to Arpaio's controversial policy of keeping some detainees in tents outside.

Maurice Bradford, a 40-year-old rapper and activist from Southern California, said this is his fight.

Maurice Bradford is a rapper and activist from CA. He said he supports the DREAMers, this is his fight too. #NN15

"Especially when it comes to black and brown," he said. "I support the DREAMers — I'm not with separated families."

LGBTQ activists also made their presence felt in the streets of Phoenix.

In Solidarity #ArpaioFreeAZ #LaLuchaSigue @raylab @Netroots_Nation @PuenteAZ @ImmortalTech @TheADAC

Before the rally, liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren fired up the crowd, taking aim at the state's hardline immigration law. "Arizona's SB1070 law is stupid, it is racist, it is unconstitutional and it should be struck down," she said.

Thank you, #nn15 - Our values are America's values, and America's values are progressive values.

But outside where a Latina mother lathered her children with sunscreen and pushed a baby carriage protected by a Telemundo Phoenix umbrella, the focus was very much on Arpaio.

Carlos Figueroa, who brought his family to the rally, said he was in one of Arpaio's jails, and wanted the community's voices to be heard and for families to stop being separated. "All we want is justice and to work," he said.

Carlos Garcia, a longtime advocate who exhorted progressives to support immigration activists, spoke as the rally wrapped up. Asked if the rally was a success, he smiled, said yes, and finished marching.

Carlos Garcia speaking out against Sheriff Joe- deport arpaio not the people

Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at adrian.carrasquillo@buzzfeed.com.

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