PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Department of Public Safety estimates that 15,000 people attended the March For Our Lives gun-control rally at the state Capitol in Phoenix.
The crowd attending the event organized by high school students heard about an hour of speeches before setting out on a march to and from a point about halfway from the Capitol to the heart of downtown Phoenix.
Two of the student organizers of the event opened it by urging young people to register to vote and boot out officeholders who won't act.
About two-dozen gun-rights supporters staged a counter-protest in the midst of the larger gathering. They held flags and sometimes challenged March For Our Lives participants to debate gun issues.
Hundreds of people, many wearing orange and holding signs, are gathering at the state Capitol in Phoenix as a march against gun violence got underway.
Two of the high school students who organized the March For Our Lives rally opened the event by urging young people to register to vote and boot out officeholders who won't act.
Samantha Lekberg, 16, of Surprise, proclaimed "guess what, we can vote them out."
Fellow organizer Jordan Harb, 17, of Mesa told the many teens in the crowd of all ages "you are powerful" and said they need to remain active to hold lawmakers accountable.
About two dozen counter-protesters arrived before the start of the rally.
Other than some isolated yelling with one or two rally participants, the group has been able to peacefully protest.
Student organizers of the March For Our Lives gun-control rally in Phoenix say it's a message to state and national leaders that participants have "had enough" of mass shootings and catering to the National Rifle Association's wishes.
Students Jordan Harb of Mountain View High School in Mesa and Samantha Lekberg of Willow Canyon High School in Surprise issued statements in advance of the rally that they and others plan Saturday at the state Capitol.
Harb says "it's time to save our children and our country's future," while Lekberg says the event isn't political driven but is a statement from the country's youth "that the killing must end."
The Phoenix rally and others across the country were organized in the wake of the Valentine Day's shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The March For Our Lives rally in Phoenix and others across the country were organized in the wake of the Valentine Day's shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Scheduled speakers at the Phoenix event include Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego, survivors of mass shootings and representatives of groups including Arizonans for Gun Safety and the Arizona School Boards Association.
Organizers say they want universal background checks required for gun purchasers and a ban on bump stocks. Those devices allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.
Related events are scheduled Saturday in other Arizona communities, including Tucson.