Arrests at flag burning in Cleveland
Several people have been arrested after burning an American flag in a protest outside the Republican National Convention. Protesters claimed police used pepper spray, but the city of Cleveland has disputed that.
Cleveland Police said that two officers were “assaulted” and sustained “minor injuries.”
Law enforcement and fire officials enforced a “dispersal order,” forcing both demonstrators and reporters to leave the scene, declaring it a crime scene.
Cleveland Police Department said in a statement that 22 demonstrators have been arrested during the Republican National Convention so far, including 17 on Wednesday in relation to a flag burning demonstration. Fifteen of them face misdemeanor chares, while two others face felony assault on officer charges.
Protestors refusing dispersal orders, pushing officers. A few arrests E. 4/Prospect— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) July 20, 2016
Anti-Trump protesters gathered at Cleveland's Public Square on Wednesday, and around 4:00 p.m., about a dozen protesters put on T-shirts emblazoned with the banner of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
A woman in the group then set a US flag on fire amid chants of "2, 4, 6, 8, America Was Never Great," but moments later, Cleveland police and fire officials moved in with a fire extinguisher.
A protester set a US flag alight, briefly setting himself and others on fire too, the police also said.
A flag went up and you could smell burning. Police pushed further in, started spraying something pic.twitter.com/vhxpBYOmRv— Aubrey Whelan (@aubreyjwhelan) July 20, 2016
Firefighters extinguished and took the flag that protesters attempted to destroy pic.twitter.com/8y63HApqnP— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) July 20, 2016
However, reports of police using pepper spray were disputed by the city of Cleveland on Twitter.
The protest appears to be lead by the Los Angeles Revolution Club. In early July, the club burned a flag to protest the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is a faction of the Revolutionary Communist Party, headed by Carl Dix.