A Place Like No Other: #RNCinCLE Day One in Pictures

Above the Convention floor at the Republican National Convention within Cleveland, Ohio’s Quicken Loans Arena. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)
Above the Convention floor at the Republican National Convention within Cleveland, Ohio’s Quicken Loans Arena. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)

CLEVELAND, OHIO — Perhaps we would be wise to expect the unexpected.

The first day of the Republican National Convention was expected to be an irresistible magnet for protesters and boosters of presidential hopeful Donald Trump alike. Recent weeks even saw the American Civil Liberties Union sue the city over proposed marching routes that would have kept demonstrators far away from the secure zone around the Quicken Loans Arena.

With tensions rising nationwide after a string of deadly encounters involving police, the heavy police presence in downtown Cleveland has taken on an added, sober dimension. After three officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the largest police officer’s union in Cleveland went so far as to [ask Governor John Kasich to suspend Ohio’s open carry firearms law] for the duration of the event here.

Yet the expected mass demonstrations have yet to materialize on the streets of the city, as you’ll see below. While the occasional armed civilian has been spotted with a handgun strapped to their thigh or an assault rifle slung over their shoulder they have been the exception to the rule so far. Instead at some events the police appear to outnumber civilians.

Indeed there almost seem to be more people, and action, inside “The Q” (the local name for the Quicken Loans Arena) than in the streets of Cleveland. Before the Convention the big buzz was around the Drump Trump rally, which fought to get a permit to rally and march. The end result: a few hundred marchers in the streets.

The streets weren’t exactly filled with protesters for the “Dump Trump” march, but there was plenty of police and media on hand to observe. (Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)
Reporters swarm as an anti-gay Christian (left) and one of the Dump Trump marchers (right) get into a heated conversation at the tail end of the march. (Youth Radio)
Codepink brought out their own version of Donald Trump, complete with Lady Liberty as his personal assistant. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)
Unattended protest signs can end up as unintentional commentary. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)
Protesters from #BlackLivesMatter brought the most passion, focus, and applause at the Dump Trump march. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)

Large events like these attract all types — scrappy entrepreneurs, veteran politicians, and social media platforms — all looking to make their mark.

Entrepreneurs of every stripe are drawn to the crowds. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)
Every other street corner seems to be a place to pick up Convention merchandise. Official or otherwise. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)
The former mayor got away from us. (Soraya Shockley/Youth Radio)

You never know who you are going to run into. In this case our team crossed paths with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The Convention is Twitter’s world, and we’re just tweeting in it. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)
Political events are what happens when Internet memes, and would be Internet memes, spill over into realspace and take over trucks. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)

Across town internet celebrity Alex Jones threw an “America First Unity Rally” to showcase speakers in the right wing of the Conservative movement. Our team managed to hit the rally after it’s height.

Trump supporters enjoy a warm afternoon, listening to a speech about gun rights. (Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)

According to a police officer detailed to the event, there were perhaps two hundred more attendees at the height, who left after Jones departed.

There were shirts for Trump supporters of every stripe and ribbon. (Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)
Not all the iconography at the rally was expected. (Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)
“Thanks to President Obama, the best gun salesman in American history.” — Jan Morgan, founder of Armed American Women, addresses the America First crowd. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)

While the crowd gave a smattering of applause for gun rights advocates and local members of the Tea Party movement they got on their feet for Milo Yiannopoulos.

Milo Yiannopoulos gets the “America First Unity Rally” crowd on it’s feet. (Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)

The internet celebrity and blog entrepreneur known by his Twitter handle Nero roused the crowd. Yiannopoulos stuck to his classic “anti-PC” themes, tossing around language once limited to comedians “working blue.” Yiannopoulos, who is gay, appeared to particularly delight in using the term that is reserved as a slur for homosexuals.

At some point after the rally Yiannopoulos played a role in a Twitter campaign against Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones which lit up the social network with calls for a solution to the systemic harassment issues on the platform, making Yiannopoulos the hardest working pundit in the alt-right.

On the floor of the Convention. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)

Inside the Quicken Loans Arena the delegates gathered. Earlier in the day saw an attempted revolt by some state delegations, which wanted to force a roll call vote. By the evening session order had been restored as everyone was on hand for the headliners.

TV media always gets the best seats in the house. (Desmond Meagley/Youth Radio)

We want to thank our partner — WCPN ideastream — for sharing their space with us this week.

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