- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anti-Trump protesters clashed with police here Wednesday outside the Republican National Convention, and 17 protesters had been arrested by early evening.

About a dozen protesters burned an American flag and chanted: “Two, four, six, eight, America was never great.”

When they refused to move away from an entry point to Quicken Loans Arena, police moved in, including police on bikes, horses and a team in riot gear.

“This is what a police state looks like,” yelled one of the protesters. Others jeered “Blue lives murder!”

The police attempt to subdue the protesters was frustrated by a throng of media and other onlookers, but the melee also prevented some delegates from getting into the arena for business. Police eventually pushed back the crowd and cleared the street in front of the entry point to the arena.

Police attempted to extinguish the burning flag, but the demonstrators immediately complained that the fire retardant, which can cause irritation to human flesh, was pepper spray.

“Burn that rag! Burn that rag!” supporters of the group yelled.

The protesters wore black T-shirts emblazoned with: “BA speaks. Revolution — nothing less.” The shirts refer to a movie about 1960s radical Bob Avakian, who is chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and continues to lead a protest movement.

Bikers for Trump leader Chris Cox was at the scene attempting to assist police. He said the protesters were calling the police “pigs” and yelling “death to police” during the confrontation, which came in the wake of two deadly attacks on the police, claiming eight officers’ lives in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“This is a lot of craziness,” Mr. Cox said.

According to Cleveland police, two officers sustained minor injuries, one of which included a bleeding elbow. Those injuries mean charges against arrestees could include felonious assault on a police officer.

Still, Wednesday’s 17 arrests bring the total to 22 for the entire convention, much less than what police had feared based on previous presidential-nominating conventions, plus such events as trade gatherings.

“Right now, I think so far, so good,” Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters Wednesday night. “We’re still out there, we’re still vigilant to make sure we finish this day, and the last day tomorrow, on a positive note.”

This article was based in part on wire service reports.

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