CLEVELAND – The city of Cleveland has denied an anti-Trump organization a protest permit, a decision that group says it will appeal, but one that will not stop its plans.
“People are coming, there’s no doubt, people are coming,” says Tom Burke, who heads up The Coalition to Stop Trump.
Burke says he expects hundreds of people from outside Cleveland to be joined by many people from northeast Ohio to make a protest that could number into the thousands.
He says the city objects to his group wanting to end up near the convention site – instead wanting the protests to finish in Willard Park or Perk Plaza away from the center of town.
“We want to be downtown,” he says. “We want to be seen, we want to be heard.”
Burke says his group runs peaceful, “family-friendly” protests, but that the city’s actions so far make it more likely that protests may wind up disorganized – which can make them more problematic.
Burke held protests at the last two GOP conventions in Tampa and Minneapolis. He says Cleveland has been much harder to deal with, calling it a “delay, delay, delay (process) compared to the other two cities.”
“(It’s been) much more difficult than it has been at other conventions,” agrees Larry Bresler, with the “Organize Ohio” movement.
His group just finished negotiating with the city for a march that will run from the east side down to Perk Plaza.
Originally, the city did not want any protests on the east side.
“It’s not ideal, but it’s something we can live with,” Bresler says of the agreed-upon route.
Bresler says he’s not sure of the wisdom of the city trying to put different protest groups on the same route at different times, saying the problem would be if they started “tangling with each other.”
Burke says his group hopes to sit down with city officials this week to see if they can come to an agreement.