News & Politics

[VIDEO] Masked Protesters at the RNC

A masked protester at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Tyler O'Neil, PJ Media

CLEVELAND, OHIO — On Tuesday afternoon, I decided to track down the location of a reported shot, and then follow the erratic menacing of protesters around the Republican National Convention. The impressive police presence largely precluded any real violence, but angry Americans huddled around the RNC like moths to a flame.

Cleveland’s Public Square has served as the main hub of protest throughout the convention, and on Tuesday the protests convinced police they needed to divide up the square with a line of bicycles.

The police did not try to stop movement, merely to restrict it. Their barricades kept protesters from moving in packs in such a public place. Largely for this reason, a large group of protesters who wished to move as a horde fled the scene, traveling across Cleveland — likely in search of a way to penetrate the RNC. Police were more than prepared, however. RNC Scanner, a police scanner dedicated to the Republican National Convention, reported that shots were fired at the intersection of E. 6th Street and Superior.

I rushed to the scene, only to find it calm and relatively empty.

When I asked bystanders, they denied reports of a shot. First, the political celebrity and mock presidential candidate Vermin Supreme said “some commanding officer somewhere decided to split the crowd,” which “caused dissension.” Here’s my interview:

A police officer from Austin, TX also denied that a shot was fired.

Next Page: But what was the crowd of protesters like? Video of their frenzied marching. Then I caught up with the protesters. A local woman yelled, “Go home!” The crowd responded, “We are home!”

I joined the protesters to see what it was like to walk alongside them. It was discombobulating, and slightly scary.

Then the police started to form a line — they stood to prevent the protesters from moving closer to the convention. It was a kind of pre-emptive policing, as might be expected with a large group of people, many of whom wore masks.

Farther down, the cops actively formed a line to divide the group, but it proved unsuccessful. Protesters rushed towards them and went around the police, who seemed only interested in slowing the group down, rather than really breaking it up.

Suddenly, the crowd broke into a run, escaping through a parking garage. Members of the media ran to keep up. As the protesters kept running, I realized that they had moved farther and farther away from the main event.

This brief experience gave me a glimpse into the frenzied mind of a protester — seeing huge groups of police, running from them, trying to confront them, and ultimately abandoning their cause in frustration. It seemed meaningless, but I do not know the anger which motivated them to continue the charade.

Donald Trump has inspired a great deal of anger, and not without reason. But few efforts have seemed more pointless than this particular protest march. What once seemed a life-threatening movement turned out to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.