Activists clash during RNC protests

Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 3:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2016 at 3:15 AM EDT
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Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO
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Source: WOIO

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Hundreds of protesters and police took over Public Square in downtown Tuesday afternoon. Some of the larger groups dispersed just after 5 p.m., but about 10-20 new protesters arrived with masks on. Heavy law enforcement presence remained for several hours.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams was on hand most of the afternoon to try and keep groups calm. Williams said he was shoved by a person trying to get to another protester, however, there were no arrests and no injuries.

It's the largest gathering of protest groups and the largest gathering of police since the beginning of the Republican National Convention.

Activists from Black Lives Matter, Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK were in the square and, at one time, were said to be throwing urine at each other.

Police were trying to draw a line and keep the groups separated. A police spokeswoman said that emotions were high, but not too many fights broke out.

Radio host, Alex Jones was going through the crowd with a bullhorn.

Actor Billy Baldwin marched down Euclid Avenue with some protesters. He said he supports police and Black Lives Matter. He said he was in Cleveland for the RNC and to show his support to activists.

Several groups started showing up at Public Square throughout the afternoon. Different groups seem to come and go from the square.

The smaller groups Tuesday included a Tamir Rice group, a man carrying an AR-15, a man with a sign saying "Jesus Vapes," a woman doing yoga with a pro-police and anti-bullying sign and another person asking folks to tell their best Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump joke. The West Ohio Minutemen are there, too, they call themselves a constitutional militia group.

Several police bike patrols and mounted units were also on hand. Officers seemed to surround the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument.

At one time, some people were heard saying there were more police than protesters.

It seems parade permit groups aren't using the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge to East 14th Street to march this week. The bridge has been empty since Sunday, except for a lone snow plow on the west side blocking vehicle access.

The Stand Together Against Trump group was expected to parade Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. A total of 0 protesters showed up. There were 15 media members, 17 preachers and several police instead. The group had a parade permit for up to 5,000 people. They later sent an email saying the group would be handing out water at Public Square during that time.

On Monday, permit groups didn't use the parade route either, but turned up at Mall A, Settlers Landing and Perk Park.

About two-dozen protesters organized by a group called The Revolution Club gathered near East 4th Street and Prospect Avenue near Quicken Loans Arena just before noon and then marched to Perk Park on East 12th Street.

They have chapters around the country, including an affiliated bookstore in Cleveland Heights. There are also chapters in South American countries. They are the people who were planning Tuesday's 4p.m. protest at Public Square, at which Cornel West and Carl Dix were expected to speak.

The walk lasted about 30 minutes and ended without incident.

Protests were peaceful on Monday. Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said authorities had collected a small knife, gas masks, and a slingshot throughout the day.


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