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Rival protesters converge on Cleveland's Public Square

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    Protestors chant in support of Black Lives Matters in Cleveland's Public Square during the Republican Nation Convention.

    The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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    Police forces secure "Bible Believers" during a Black Lives Matter event on Public Square during the Republican National Convention.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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CLEVELAND — The scene in downtown grew ominously tense this afternoon, as hundreds and rival protesters and law enforcement converged on Public Square. 

For about 10 minutes, police on foot, horses, and bikes cordoned off the area and would not allow anyone in, citing a ”security situation.” 

Black Lives Matter, religious-right organizations, pro-lifers, and Second Amendment supporters were all present. Seven West Ohio Militiamen, from Lima, Ohio were part of the protesters. They were all carrying assault rifles. 

“I’m exercising everyone’s Second Amendment right, not just mine,” Bryon Hennon, 37, who supports Mr. Trump.

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Another Second Amendment advocate, Micah Naziri, of Yellow Springs, Ohio, was armed with an AR-15 and two Glock 19s. He’s an archer who enjoys long-range precision shooting, and unlike most gun owners, Mr. Naziri does not approve of Mr. Trump’s candidacy. 

ProtestersCops19

Police forces secure "Bible Believers" during a Black Lives Matter event on Public Square during the Republican National Convention.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
Enlarge | Buy This Image

“I’m hear to say no to fascism,” he said. 

When asked which candidate he supports, Mr. Naziri said, ”I’m declining all political questions except my abject hatred of Donald Trump.”

The commotion prevented some speakers from entering the public stage to make remarks. One of those unlucky speakers was Julia Shearson of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. 

“The number of police is so pervasive,” she said.

Chris Montgomery and his fiancee, Darla Lawton, are in town from Vermont. They traipsed downtown to experience the buzz. 

“I’m amazed by the civility of the incivility,” said Mr. Montgomery, who supports his homestate candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders. ”People are yelling and cursing at one another, and then someone says, ’Please stop,’ and they stop. I’m impressed. I was fearing the worst.”

Contact Kyle Rowland at: krowland@theblade.com, 419-724-6282, or on Twitter @KyleRowland.

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