CLEVELAND, Ohio — Roughly 200 left-wing activists gathered at The Mall in downtown Cleveland, a short distance away from the Republican National Convention, to protest against Donald Trump — and, at times, against Hillary Clinton as well.
Various speakers assailed the presumptive Republican nominee and his probable Democratic opponent as “Tweedledum and Tweedledee,” calling for an alternative to the two-party system — and, in the meantime, a revolution against capitalism.
Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement were present in strong numbers: “No justice for the black? No justice for the brown? What do we do?” “Shut it down! Shut it down!” they chanted.
Others represented the Workers World Party and local and regional immigrants’ rights organizations.
Several people from a left-wing Jewish organization called Jewish Action held signs comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler, with the slogan: “JEWS REJECT TRUMP” and the hashtag “WeveSeenThisBefore”.
(When pressed by Breitbart News to explain the sign, one woman refused, saying “I’m not a huge fan of Breitbart News.”)
The lead organizer and MC was Kait McIntyre of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, who kept proceedings lively. Also on scene was the resurrected Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the radical left-wing organization whose anti-war protests and battles with police outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 are the stuff of radical lore.
Journalists from NBC News and the New York Times intermingled with the crowd, along with Fox News and Breitbart. At the margins, a small group of masked, black-clad youth with backpacks seemed prepared for violence and clashes with police.
But for the moment, the protest was peaceful in the sweltering heat, as speakers urged the audience to “Dump Trump!” and to continue their organizing efforts against the “racist” Republicans on the one hand, and the party of “Killary” on the other.
The protesters planned a march later in the afternoon through the largely-empty downtown streets, hoping to march as close to the GOP convention site — the Quicken Loans Arena — as police, present in large numbers, would allow them to be.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.