Police fire pepper spray, detain protesters outside Republican convention arena
Police fired pepper spray at a surging crowd and detained several demonstrators after skirmishes broke out over a flag-burning protest in the streets outside the Republican National Convention.
Cleveland: Police fired pepper spray at a surging crowd and detained several demonstrators after skirmishes broke out over a flag-burning protest in the streets outside the Republican National Convention.
It was the most turbulent protest since the four-day convention began on Monday. The chaos prevented members of the media and others from getting into the Quicken Loans Arena for the evening's proceedings.
At least four people were detained yesterday, and one police officer was bleeding from his elbow.
Officers, some wearing riot helmets, yelled at the crowd to move back as the flag-burning group locked arms. Police Chief Calvin Williams was one of several officers in the middle of the crowd, trying to keep order.
Police used their horses to create a path to a van for people being detained.
Earlier, blocks away from the arena, a right-wing religious group lifted a banner reading "Jesus is angry with you sinners," while kissing lesbians mocked their message, helping turn Cleveland's Public Square into part-carnival, part-debate floor.
The expansive square was a free-flowing mix of ideas and beliefs along with colorful characters pounding on bongos and wailing on a sousaphone.
The day's demonstrations started with a few dozen people holding banners printed with a red-brick design and forming a human wall to mock Donald Trump's plan to seal off the Mexican border.
"We want to wall off the hate of Trump," said Tim Chavez, of Columbus.
A half-dozen Trump supporters defended the GOP nominee from attacks by immigration activists.
Police officers used bicycles and their bodies to separate those with opposing views.
Jesse Gonzalez, of Lakewood, a Cleveland suburb, carried a rifle on Public Square while wearing a camouflage-style "Make America Great Again" hat.
"I'm out here to illustrate that not all gun owners, if any or very few, are irresponsible or uneducated," he said. The city's police chief said he spent three hours Tuesday evening riding with bicycle officers on patrol and that he waded into one confrontation because he's "still a police officer."