Police break up skirmishes among demonstrators in Cleveland

From The Associated Press:

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police broke up scuffles between groups of demonstrators a few blocks from the Republican National Convention as crowds in the hundreds gathered Tuesday afternoon. There was no immediate word on any arrests or injuries.

A skirmish broke out when right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones started speaking in downtown’s Public Square through a bullhorn. Police on bicycles pushed back a surging crowd, and Jones was whisked away.

Minutes later, more officers on bicycles formed a line between a conservative religious group and a communist-leaning organization carrying a sign that read, “America Was Never Great.”

The demonstrators – including anti-Muslim protesters, religious conservatives and marchers decrying racism and “murder by police” – appeared outnumbered by law officers and members of the media. Police on bike and on foot formed lines to keep pockets of protesters separated.

Demonstrators soon spilled into the streets, and some appeared to be making their way toward the convention arena before turning back. More skirmishes broke out at one intersection.

The crowds and the police presence were some of the largest and most raucous gatherings in downtown Cleveland since the convention got underway Monday.

Cleveland’s police chief was talking to the crowd before one of the skirmishes broke out.

Earlier Tuesday, officials said 11 members of the planning team for the California delegation to the Republican convention were recovering from a bout of norovirus, or what’s commonly known as stomach flu, health officials said. No delegates appeared to be affected.

The symptoms, which can include vomiting and diarrhea, were first reported Thursday as logistics members arrived at a hotel about an hour west of Cleveland ahead of the Republican National Convention, said Pete Schade, …

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