Outside the Republican National Convention on Wednesday afternoon, the protests were intense and vibrant. But they weren’t the dangerous throw downs some had predicted would erupt outside the hall where Donald Trump was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.
To be sure, there was some conflict. Two men on the street engaged in a fierce yelling match over the rights of Americans to burn the nation’s flag, with one, an African-American man, talking about slavery and civil rights while the other, who said he was Latino, retorting, “I didn’t pick any cotton and neither did you!” The exchange apparently came after a number of protesters were arrested in the course of a flag burning action.
And a large contingent of Evangelical Christian protestors held signs and gave sermons about gay marriage, abortion, sin, and salvation. Countering them were a small band of pro-LGBT protesters. In Public Square, a protest area a few blocks from the arena, police functioned as a barrier between the two groups.
There was even an appearance by Vermin Supreme — the perennial political candidate and performance artist who wears a boot on his head and promises, among other things, that if he is ever elected to office he will pass a law requiring that all Americans brush their teeth.
The first few days of the RNC haven’t been calm. There have been arrests and reports of opposing groups throwing bodily waste at each other. On Wednesday afternoon, though, most people were happy to say their piece to whoever would listen — even if it was no one at all.