Protestors shouting “America was never great!” outside of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland earlier this week decided to punctuate their point by burning an American flag during an anti-Trump protest. It went badly. [Scroll Down For Video]
The protestors seemed to be conflicted on what exactly they’re protesting. Some seem to be protesting Trump with, “America was never great!” chant while others seemed to be displeased with the Republican Party overall while others shouted “Blue Lives Murder!” at responding officers.
When one protestor attempted to burn an American flag, things ended badly for him. The man can be seen struggling to control the flag which was obviously soaked with some kind of accelerant.
As the man wanders out of frame we hear one of the police officers yell, “You’re on fire stupid!” The protestor had inadvertently set his own leg on fire while attempting to burn the flag.
Officers then moved in on the crowd and used pepper spray to break up the crowd. Numerous people ended up being arrested and two officers were wounded in the confusion. According to the NY Post:
Police arrested 17 people Wednesday after a melee broke out during a flag-burning in the streets outside the Republican National Convention.
It was the most turbulent protest since the four-day convention began on Monday. The chaos briefly prevented delegates and members of the media from getting into the Quicken Loans Arena for the evening’s proceedings.
Among those arrested was Gregory “Joey” Johnson, whose torching of the flag at a GOP convention three decades ago led to the landmark 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said flag-burning is speech protected by the First Amendment.
The man who set the flag on fire (as well as himself) was apparently unharmed, but he was arrested for assaulting a police officer during the incident.
Here is a full video of the the incident along with parts of the protest. The flag burning starts around the 2:00 mark. Violent confrontations between law enforcement officers and protestors occurs throughout the video.