On Bike, Horse and Foot, Police Keep Order Outside GOP Convention

Conventions Reuters

Police restore order in downtown Cleveland

Demonstrators run through streets of Cleveland during Republican National Convention.

City police on bicycles and horseback, backed by state and local officers from across the country, kept order outside the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, as predictions that protester unrest would tarnish the event did not come to pass for a second day.

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There have been only five arrests since the convention began on Monday, police announced at an early evening news conference. As sundown neared, the mood on downtown streets was calm.

In Tuesday's largest demonstration, police on bicycles rode into the crowd in the city's Public Square in midafternoon. Helmeted officers, some in protective equipment and others wearing shorts, separated a crowd of Black Lives Matters protesters from other protesters wearing masks and helmets, occasionally lifting their bikes to push through the crowd.

"If America is so bad, why don't you leave?," a pro-Trump demonstrator shouted at a group carrying signs that read, "America was never great"

A pair of men dressed in traditional Muslim garb walked near the plaza carrying assault-style rifles, with one also bearing a semiautomatic handgun.

Micha Noziri of Yellow Spring, Ohio, who is not Muslim, said he wanted to take a stance against Trump's positions on "religious minorities" and immigration.

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"We came out to show solidarity for all minority groups, the so-called minority groups that Donald Trump would oppress if he does the things that he says," Noziri told a knot of reporters surrounding him.

Ten men identifying themselves as Ohio militia walked through Public Square with weapons on open display, surrounded by a pack of journalists.

Police escorted conservative radio host Alex Jones from the square, amid shouting and jostling, after Jones used a megaphone to shout invective about Black Lives Matter and other groups toward a group of liberal-leaning protesters.

Dozens of Cleveland police on bicycles and dozens more in state police uniforms intervened. They walked Jones and a handful of supporters past a few hundred demonstrators and journalists.

One Trump supporter, Elam Stoltzfus, said he felt "very safe" watching the scene.

"About 150 police were here in a minute," Stoltzfus said in reference to events that led up to Jones' being escorted away. "Ohio is an open-carry state; we have a lot of protection here."

Earlier Tuesday, police arrested three people for climbing flagpoles near Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and hanging a banner with the words, "Don't Trump Our Communities." Firefighters used a ladder truck to assist in the arrest, police officials said. (Reporting By Scott Malone and Daniel Trotta; Additional reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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