CLEVELAND, Ohio– The FOX 8 I-Team has made a stunning discovery with the number of protest marches for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. You may be surprised at how many people won’t be taking to the streets on the designated “parade route” set aside by the city.
We’ve heard all the shouting about rules for protest marches. The American Civil Liberties Union even took the city to federal court on behalf of protesters.
But the I-Team went through permits approved by City Hall. We found the city has approved dozens of requests for speakers’ platforms and parks. But, as of early Thursday afternoon, just four permits had been approved for protest marches.
One is for a group supporting Republican candidate Donald Trump. That group was among those in the ACLU lawsuit which led to loosened restrictions for protesters. But now that group says its plans for a march are uncertain. The group is putting more energy into a rally at Settler’s Landing.
The leader of another march tells the I-Team he expects his permit to be approved at any time. And one group is appealing after being denied. Still, not nearly as many permits as some expected after so much talk about the Convention and what protesters could do.
Cleveland City Hall did not respond Thursday to our follow-up questions about this. For instance, is there any kind of backlog of permit applications not handled yet? On Wednesday, city officials estimated only about a quarter of the protest march time slots had been filled.
The deadline to apply for a permit is Friday, July 8.
Of course, police are preparing in case crowds just show up and try to take over the streets during the RNC, which is less than two weeks away.