Protest inside & outside RNC: 5 highlights from Day 1

A delegate holds a sign during speeches at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. © Aaron Josefczyk
The Republican National Convention kicked off its first day with a bang. Between in-party fights that evolved into loud yelling, armed protests outside the convention and casual racism, this may be a turning-point for the RNC.

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Perhaps there is no better way to represent the turmoil of the 2016 election cycle than the first day of the RNC. As protesters marched outside of the convention, an attempted revolt was quashed inside. When a majority of delegates from 10 states attempted to upend the convention, their complaints fell on deaf ears – prompting them to yell even louder.

1 – Rebounding delegates

Delegates Unbound sought to demand a floor vote in an attempt to address discord within the Republican Party. The group had hoped to change three major rules in the election: Unbinding delegates from the presidential nominee selected by their state, using delegate bonuses to reward closed primaries and reversing a rule that gives party leadership total control over information about and among future rules committees.

With the majority of delegates hailing from 10 states, the group seemed to be able to force a roll call vote on the floor. However, their Hail Mary vote was initially denied by Representative Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), who was presiding over the convention.

Meanwhile, Convention Chair Reince Preibus left the stage during the attempted revolt.

The convention secretary was also nowhere to be found. While the Stop Trump team members chanted “roll call vote!” their opposing delegates and supporters shouted “USA! USA! USA!” over them.

When the voice vote was granted, Womack announced, “In the opinion of the chair, the ‘ayes’ have it.” Perhaps this was because that out of the nine states that requested a roll-call vote, three delegates had withdrawn their votes leaving three states without enough delegates to demand the roll-call vote.

2 – Meanwhile, outside the convention…

As Trump supporters and Republicans gathered outside of the Republican National Convention to show support for their candidate and their party, they were predictably met with groups of protesters who took to Cleveland’s streets to similarly display their frustration with the party.

The protests brought out an estimated 200 to 300 people, according to Cleveland.com. Demonstrations were peaceful with only one arrest of an individual taking place, which was because police had a preexisting warrant unconnected to the convention.

Protesters from Code Pink, a female-led anti-war organization, were escorted out of the Quicken Loans Arena. The first was caught attempting to reveal a banner reading “YES WE CAN END WAR” but attendees attempted to block the sight of the banner and remove it from her.

Another woman held a sign reading “REFUGEES WELCOME” during former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s speech. She too was promptly removed.

3 - Guns galore!

While the anti-Trump protesters marched peacefully, so too did the marchers supporting the open carry laws of Ohio. Armed with visible guns – including AR-15s and 9mm pistols, open carry marchers walked from the convention to the town square, all in the name of the Second Amendment.

The group described themselves as a “well-regulated militia.” When RT’s Caleb Maupin asked how the militia members had been treated, they claimed to have been thanked and appreciated by members of law enforcement. When asked if their reaction would be different if the militia was primarily African-American, Maupin was informed that “If it weren’t for the media, color wouldn’t exist.”

Perhaps participants never read that on Sunday, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association sought to have guns banned for the weekend. Steve Loomis of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association told NBC news, "we believe it is a reasonable request to protect the safety of our folks."

A statement from Governor John Kasich’s office denied the request, stating that the governor did not have the power to “arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested,” the same day that three police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge.

4 - ‘Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more?’ white representative asks at RNC

During a broadcast at the Republican National Convention, Esquire’s Charles Pierce noted that the Republican Party may not be dominated by older white people for much longer. Older white man and Iowa Representative Steve King had a lot to say about that.

Iowa’s Steve King is tired of people talking about white people. "This 'old white people' business does get a little tired, Charlie," he said to MSNBC’S Charlie Hayes on Monday at the Republican National Convention.

"I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?" He asked.
"Than white people?" Hayes asked.

"Than Western civilization itself," King stated, failing to understand that he was espousing white supremacy. "It's rooted in western Europe, eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That's all of Western civilization."

April Ryan, White House correspondent, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and black woman, seemed eager to respond. However, Hayes interrupted her saying “We are not going to debate western civilization.

Ryan attempted to interject over the men by asking about Asia or Africa, but her comments went ignored. As did, apparently, the effort of African American slaves who built the country.

5 – Blue lives matter

With tensions over police brutality reaching a boiling point in the US, many speakers at the RNC used the platform as an opportunity to pledge their commitment to law enforcement. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani took the stage to do so, reinforcing the legacy he left after handling the shooting deaths of Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond.

The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe,” he began, “they fear for their children, they fear for themselves, they fear for our police officers who are being targeted with a target on their back.

When they come to save your life, they don’t ask if you’re black or white," Giuliani declared, “they just come to save you.

Giuliani announced “It’s time to make America safe again. It’s time to make America one again.” He went on to ask, “What happened to there is no black America, there is no white America,” he said, forgetting about segregation, “there is just America. What happened to it? Where did it go?

Different buttons honoring the police have been bought by storm at the RNC, the NY Post reported.

Following the murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge this month, emotions have been running high – as well as support for law enforcement. Three officers in Baton Rouge were shot on Sunday in an ambush attack by a former Marine sergeant. On July 7th, five police officers were shot in Dallas during an attempted peaceful protest for the victims of police brutality.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke spoke at the RNC, where he declared that “Blue lives matter in America.” He was met with a standing ovation then and again when he announced that Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges related to the death of Freddie Gray.