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UPDATED: Thursday, July 21, 12:46 AM EST

About 18 people were arrested early Thursday outside a security barrier around the Republican National Convention after a protester tried to burn the American flag, reports CNN:

Upward of 200 law enforcement officers from dozens of departments, joined by Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, converged on the scene, confronting a small group of demonstrators in what quickly escalated into the most heated clash in a mostly subdued week of protests.

“You’re on fire! You’re on fire, stupid,” an officer could be heard yelling when the man who tried to start the blaze had his leg briefly catch fire. He was then arrested for assaulting an officer, Williams said during an evening news conference, after trying to bat away police seeking to douse the flames.
Hours after dispersing the crowd, Cleveland police tweeted that the officers had been punched and pushed during the brief melee. Their injuries were described as minor. Charges against those arrested included felonious assault on a police officer, failure to disperse and resisting arrest.

‘No Trump Wall:’ Protests Erupt At RNC In Cleveland

Amid a military-like police presence, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside of the Republican National Convention in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, to protest against Donald Trump’s xenophobia and anti-immigrant statements, among other things, during his wild and unpredictable presidential campaign.

“No Trump wall,” some of the protesters shouted about 11:30 A.M. EST., on the third day of the convention.

“There is no support out here,” a protester told NewsOne. “That’s why we’re seeing the frustration and collective anger that has been building. We’re not violent. So we’re going to channel that energy into ways we can unite the community.”

The protest crowd, comprised of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, came as a surprise to some members of the media and convention attendees, because there had been little-to-no protesting during the first two days of the event.

There had been a big build-up for protests ahead of the convention, with talk about a heavy presence from Black Lives Matter and counter-protesters amid the threat of the state’s open-carry laws presenting a challenge for law enforcement.

As a result of alleged earlier threats and protest chatter, the convention area resembles a military base with law enforcement officers dotting nearly every corner and perimeter of the event.

“I was shocked because for two days we didn’t see any action,” EZ Street, a Radio One personality at Washington, D.C.’s WKYS, told NewsOne. “I’m just glad it was all peaceful.”


18 Arrested, 2 Cops Hit With Minor Injuries In Flag Burning Protest At Cleveland RNC  was originally published on newsone.com