Organizers for two groups on opposite ends of the political spectrum are unhappy with a protest route designated for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, arguing it restricts their free-speech rights and creates the possibility of clashes.
One group is a coalition of more than two dozen left-leaning organizations planning to protest social and economic inequality. The other is an amalgam of groups hoping to celebrate the nomination of Donald Trump as the GOP candidate for president on the last day of the convention. Organizers of both events expect to draw thousands of people from across the country.
The groups, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, say the city-designated route announced Wednesday is far from where they had hoped to hold rallies and marches, infringing on their right to free speech.
The use of a designated protest route is a “recipe for disaster” because it could put groups hostile to each other in close proximity, said Ralph King, the local organizer for a coalition of groups called Citizens for Trump. He said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams will be to blame if anyone is hurt during the convention.
A city spokesman declined to provide a response to King’s comment.
The city’s route starts on the western end of a long bridge crossing the Cuyahoga River valley into downtown Cleveland, passes at a distance by the convention site.
Williams said police will try to accommodate those wanting to protest outside the designated space surrounding the arena as the city did during anti-police protests in downtown Cleveland during the past 18 months.
“If we can direct traffic around them, we will do that,” Williams said. “It will depend on the situation.”
Larry Bresler of Organize! Ohio, the local group planning the inequality march, said the city’s plan is unacceptable and “nebulous.” He said he is conferring with the ACLU about what action can be taken.
“The restrictions in terms of where the routes will be are problematic,” Bresler said.
Citizens for Trump had asked for a permit to use Voinovich Park, next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. City officials said the park has been reserved by a Republican Party committee. King said his group might try to hold a rally there anyway and dare police to make them leave.
City officials said the route will be available to groups for two hours on July 18, the first official day of the four-day convention, and for four hours on each of the next three days. Marches must be completed within 50 minutes along a route approximately 1½ miles long.
Assistant City Law Director Rick Horvath said permits would be issued in the order applications are received. The two groups submitted theirs weeks ago. Other groups, both for and against Trump, also have applied for parade permits.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
El Tejas says
If there are any riots or other violence it will be instigated by the radical socialists and not law abiding citizens. These radicals
scream of freedom of speech even while attempting to deny it to anyone who disagrees with them.
Christopher S. O'Rourke says
If riots breakout during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, it will most likely be instigated by trouble
Making goons that are very sympathic to none other than the Clinton’s and their evil, wicked cohorts and the Clinton’s
goons. The anti war demonstrators in Chicago outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention were peacefully protesting
AGAINIST the war in Viet Nam. The riots were instigated when the late Chicago dictator Richard J. Daley ordered his
goon squad to Grant park to break up a peaceful anti war protest. I seen that on CBS television, the very worst acts
Of police brutality. Those riots there along with the Viet Nam war costed the Democrats the 1968 election. The Democrats
of today and fifty years ago are completely different, the same with the Republicans as well and even Independents.
Trumps pays these people so he does not have to talk on issues or show his ignorance…………….
Hey did you finish second in your class in any school… Like trump finished second at the Wharton school of business university of Pennsylvania so I believe he is probably a lot smarter than the ignorance you show
Don Holland says
By George I believe you are right, those who come to websites like this to post their hate filled snide remarks are among the lowest IQ group in the country. Only classless people do this. You know whom I am speaking of, the neer-do-wells.
Your wrong. There are plenty of stupid people out there who don’t need to be paid to do what comes naturally.
David VanNorman says
George Soros is behind much of this stuff. He wants his world order to prevail.
Arthur Hartsock says
Possible riots? How about guaranteed riots? This convention may outdo Chicago in 1968 for craziness. Of course, well financed by the Soros-types.
Stephen Russell says
Give PD OK to use force on riotters alone & bring out mobile prefab jail modules to house riotters & expand Video cameras in the area near GOP event alone.
More can be done.
Hear out Sheriff David Clarke of WI.
Lynne Mobus says
When the time comes, authorities should bring in the NATIONAL GUARD with all the gear that was used in Ferguson to keep the criminal insane crowd that is causing the problem and they should be arrested and fined along with a record black balling their record for their future. This is total INSANITY and is not acceptable in any way. Horses should not be used as they do not deserve having rocks thrown at them. A horse was badly hurt at the riot in CA and I don’t know if they were able to save him. These people are LOW LIFE SCUM and need to be dealt with in a very stern and strict way.