2016 Republican Convention

Philadelphia's DNC Protests Expect to be Bigger, Angrier than Cleveland's RNC Protests

Cleveland's protesters were confined to "protest zones" miles away, Philadelphia will have fewer restrictions and more disenfranchised demonstrators.

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Protests where no one can hear them
Reason/Anthony L. Fisher

By now you probably know Cleveland's stint hosting the Republican National Convention (RNC) was full of kumbayas despite the anxiety over the potential for violent unrest which was the order of the day just a week ago.

Law enforcement (which included everyone from the Secret Service to the Cleveland PD to the many out-of-town departments from as far away as California) were almost always professional, helpful, and bathed with respect and gratitude by passing attendees. I saw more people snapping photos with police officers than any celebrity, politician or media figure in Cleveland last week. Not that this is a bad thing, police do hard and vital work in the public interest, but with so many RNC speeches devoted to "War on Cops" and end-of-days themes, you'd think policing the RNC would have been the most terrifying job on the planet, and it simply wasn't

A big part of the reason was that protesters just did not descend on Cleveland in the numbers predicted. Black Lives Matter instead devoted its efforts last week to occupying the police union headquarters of New York and Washington, D.C., and many progressive groups opted to instead put their energies toward protesting the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia this week. 

Attending about a dozen protests, marches, and rallies over four days in Cleveland, I couldn't find a single one attended by more than five hundred people. And each rally was pretty much attended by the same hardcore communists and anarchists who did mostly empty rhetorical battle with the same Islamophobes and xenophobes all week. 

Some protesters complained of being harassed with FBI "no-knock raids," which the FBI preferred to describe as a "protective sweep," but another reason the protests had so little effect is that only one of the three designated "protest zones" was within walking distance of the RNC's venue at Quicken Loans Arena. I visited one of the protest zones, Willard Park, three times and the only action I found there was a friendly, non-homophobic Christian group handing out bibles, some bored-looking climate protesters, and the Trump Hut.

The most anticipated protest event of the week, Thursday's "Stand Together Against Trump" march, had no more than 300 participants who trudged over the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, flanked by about a hundred story-hungry reporters (myself included). The bridge is in a part of the city where absolutely no traffic was permitted in any direction. Pedestrians access was greatly restricted too, which lead to the comical scene of reporters and photographers climbing through construction sites to get a glimpse of the action, such as it was.

When the marchers made it across the bridge, they were stopped by a row of more than a hundred police officers on bicycles who formed a mobile fence (a law enforcement tactic credited as innovative and useful in crowd control, but also derided as overtly aggressive throughout the week). It was a surreal scene, a display of public dissent held in the relative vicinity of one of the most important political conventions in American history, so tightly contained to a particular area that it would be seen by literally no one who wasn't paid to be on that side of town. 

Later that day, I spoke with a member of the police watchdog group Copwatch, who described law enforcement during the RNC as a "police state with a smiley face." To back up his point, he pointed to the overwhelming numbers of police in attendance at each protest, their tendency to pre-emptively shut down any rallies where people grew animated, the use of bikes as offensive shields when pushing protesters back, and the frequently deployed tactic (confirmed by police scanners) of police tailing anyone they deem suspicious, including protesters "playing duck-duck-goose in the park" and a demonstrator dressed as a robot. 

Much of the fear that Cleveland would turn into a war zone during the RNC was built on the violence of pro and anti-Trump supporters at rallies over the past year. But some stragglers aside (like the angry Utah delegates I spoke to on Thursday), the Republican Party is solidly behind Trump, while Hillary Clinton has yet to win over a sizable portion of Bernie Sanders' supporters. This makes Philadelphia ripe for protests. 

The palpable anger of the "Bernie or Bust" crowd was further enflamed following the hacked document dump by Wikileaks last week, which revealed (to no one's surprise) that the Democratic Party establishment was not exactly enthralled with Sanders' democratic socialist insurgency, which made the party's longtime presumptive nominee actually have to campaign for the nomination for president. 

In contrast with the RNC's host city, Philadelphia will have fewer restrictions on protests and rallies, and the City of Brotherly Love's access to the densely populated I-95 corridor makes it an easier destination to travel to than Cleveland. And while it was hot and muggy in Cleveland, it is expected to be a particularly dangerous and miserable mixture of extreme heat, moisture, and thunderstorms in Philadelphia this week. 

Reason will once again be covering the convention all week through both the printed word and video. 

NEXT: "Binary Choices" Like Trump or Clinton Are So 20th Century

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  1. Islamophobes and xenophobes

    Obviously, anyone not wanting to import violent and poorly-educated anti-libertarian welfare cases must be suffering from some sort of mental impairment….

    1. Light the Cytotoxic signal!

      1. Hey, Europe has had nothing but good come from importing all those refugees! I know this cause Cytotoxic told me, and he’s like the smartest guy ever. I also know that because he told me that too.

    2. Hey Papaya, perhaps I am mistaken, but I get the impression that you trade securities professionally. If that is true I would like to ask your advice on this.

      1. No, that’s not me. I’m in tech.

        1. Ok, thanks for replying anyway. And if you’re ever in Denver, hit me up and we’ll Karaoke like superstars!

          1. Thanks!

          2. I sing like old people fuck, so karaoke is out for me, but if there’s ever a Denver Reason get-together, count me in.

            1. “karaoke” can be roughly translated as “drink people who shouldn’t be singing”. But yeah, I’d show up and have a drink.

          3. I believe you’re thinking of Playa Manhatten

            He’s the stock trader.

        2. You messed up, Papaya. You could have posed as a security dealer and made possibly dozens and dozens of dollars.

          1. I’m pretty good at missing opportunities.

            1. Is your real name Jim? Because you sound a lot like my financial advisor.

    3. non-homophobic Christian group handing out bibles

      Weird. Most of the Christian groups I see are ranting about the fags.

  2. Did something kinda, you know, HAPPEN regarding this convention? Like, I dunno, BIG NEWS that this post doesn’t bother to mention?

    1. Something crooked, even Nixonian, perhaps?

      1. Nixon was a rank amateur compared to Hillary.

        1. Consider the technology poor Dick had to work with. I’m sure he’d be wiping hard drives and deleting emails with anyone.

          1. I think we need to change the term from Nixonian to Clintonian, as the Clinton’s have surely already got away with more than Nixon could have even dreamed of.

            1. Plus, most of Nixon’s activities were bred of a mind tormented with paranoia. Clinton approaches every act of corruption with a cool/calm/collected demeanor and absolute glee at what she’s about to accomplish — she scares me far more.

              1. Although I believe that Clinton is starting to suffer from the same type of paranoia as all despots eventually seem to.

                Hillary’s Paranoia

                1. Hillary wouldn’t have passed her own vetting process.

            2. Yes, Nixon at least was capable of shame.

              1. Hilary’s paranoia:

                “They had to turn over every password for every social media account for every member of their families.
                They had to list every piece of property they’d ever owned, and copies of every r?sum? that they’d put out for the past 10 years. Every business partner. Every gift they’d ever received, according to those familiar with the details of the vetting process.”

                But she didn’t install a private server to keep her crimes secret. Right.

            3. And Nixon was a coward, resigning instead of facing an impeachment trial, while Clinton was proven innocent! Innocent!

              1. Nixon resigned because Heffalumps in Congress showed some character and told him he would get impeached and convicted. There are no Donkeys with character currently.

    2. (((Wasserman-Shultz))) stepping down because of the email thingy?

        1. oy vey

  3. Cleveland was just all murdered-out after an 82% jump in murders during El Ni?o in 2015.

    1. My theory is that there were about 200 journalists for every protester, and that as soon as they (the journalists) saw something happening, they rushed to the protest and smothered it via their sheer numbers, effectively cutting off any oxygen and putting the fire out.*

      *Putting the fire out in a metaphorical way, and in no way dousing American flags with fire retardant

      1. So this is what will happen at the DNC? I mean, RNC was supposed to have all of the protesters.

        1. just think about all the CC permit holders inside the convention…talk about a shooting gallery!

  4. Just like I said last week, the RNC protests were small and were outside in small zones being watched by the cops. At the DNC, the crazies will be INSIDE. This should be fun. I hope someone lights a smoke during the fart-in.

    1. Yeah, I’m hoping shit boils over inside the building.

    2. And FDR park is right across the street from the convention. Even though it’s fenced off on the convention side, I’m sure protesters will be using it as a staging ground

    3. I think perhaps too many people these days, especially in the media, are just too young or too uninformed to realize that the biggest protest shitstorm at any convention in our lifetimes was not at any Republican event, but at the 1968 Dem Convention in Chicago. These were the riots that brought fame to the ‘Chicago 7’ (Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, etc), cemented the concept of “hippies” in the national consciousness, and led to such problems for the Democrats that the unpopular Republican guy preaching ‘law and order’ (sound familiar?) got elected.

      These were the riots where the hippies, black panthers, weather underground, SDS etc squared off against the Chicago Police, right during a time when ‘police brutality’ was a major issue nationwide. (Again, sound familiar?) This is where Chicago’s Mayor Daley (the fat first one) had the famous malapropism he proclaimed to the public: “The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder.”

      We seem kind of ripe for that this week. I agree with the idea of getting some popcorn and sitting back.

      Who knows, maybe the star of the protests will even get to marry this generation’s Jane Fonda, whoever that may be (Chlo? Grace Moretz?), like Tom Hayden ended up doing back then.

      1. I was only 1 in 1968, but weren’t they more organized back then (particularly SDS and panthers)? It seems like most nowadays are just social signalling.

        Even with the anarchists, they seem to just be idiots behind masks breaking glass. It’s a far cry from the Weathermen.

    4. Last week? This could have been predicted way earlier. Like I asked, are we taking bets on violence?

      1. oh yeah, go long on violence

  5. “And while it was hot and muggy in Cleveland, it is expected to be a particularly dangerous and miserable mixture of extreme heat, moisture, and thunderstorms in Philadelphia this week. ”

    You forgot the natives that boo Santa Claus.

    1. It’s been near 100 in Baltimore the last couple days. 99 is the forecast for tomorrow.

    2. They threw snowballs at Santa. Don’t deny us our violent tendencies, it’s all we’ve got!

    3. This reminds me of when I went to a USA soccer game with a 122 heat index at 6pm in KC and they, ya know, played the fucking game. But when it was 88 in Baltimore a couple days later HOLY SHIT WATER BREAKS.

      It’ll be okay guys, if you’re not stupid and can consume water you’ll live.

      1. The Sporting KC v Seattle Sounders game yesterday in Kansas CIty had water breaks.

        1. soccer pussies

          1. It would be comical to say the least to see a bunch of linemen try to remain on the field for 45 minutes at a stretch without water breaks in any weather conditions.

    4. I always thought whoever gave the nickname “The City of Brotherly Love” was being ironic. There’s a reason why the entire country thinks Philadelphia sports fans are the worst. Because people from Philadelphia are the worst.

  6. I’m pretty sure any violence propagated by progtards at the DNC will be blamed on Trump.

    1. If anyone in Philadelphia sees a dead sparrow or a live rat, it will be blamed on Trump.

      1. If there’s a live rat, it’s gonna be a dead rat.

        /South Philly Mob

        1. and part of a cheesesteak pretty soon after that!

  7. It’s a balmy Philadelphia night. I stand on the balcony of my apartment, cigar in one hand, whiskey in the other. A breeze blows from the South, and it seems to carry the distant sounds of sirens, cackling, and progressive screams with it. Out on the horizon, beneath a pitch black sky, a warm glow encircles what should be the Wells Fargo arena. Perhaps a fart too many met the flicker of a vintage Zippo’s flame? Or has Hell at last emerged on the mortal plane, its servants sensing the time is ripe to begin conquest? Will they offer the triggered throngs an eternal safe space in the Earth’s core?

    I sip from my glass, putting metaphysical thoughts aside. For now is not a time to be lost in consideration — it is a moment to be lived…savored. It is a great privilege to have such a comfortable seat from which to watch the 2016 Democratic National Convention…to watch the progressives eat each other alive.

    1. Great story. Comedy, tragedy, mystery, or romance?

      WikiLeaks to provide the answer.

  8. Wouldn’t thunderstorms be a good thing? They’ll keep people indoors, meaning less chance of rioting.

    1. Do they have thunderstorms in Philly? I mean, we have them in Baltimore, but they’re really not storms, just thunder showers. If you want to see thunderstorms, go to somewhere in flyover country, like Iowa or Kansas. That shit will scare the living fucking shit out of you if you’re not used to it. Here, a bad storm is when it thundered a little too loud and the wind blew down one small tree branch. When I lived in Indiana, a bad storm was when you came out of the basement and your house and at least some of your neighbors houses were still there.

      1. By your definition I guess we usually just get thunder showers, but we did have one nasty storm a couple of months ago — rain was coming down so hard it sounded like someone was setting off fireworks.

      2. You’re right. I used to live in Oklahoma, where the real storms live. Though the thunderstorms that rolled through philly and NJ yesterday were damn intense.

        1. Colorado has storms, but nothing like OK. When I was in El Reno, the largest tornado ever recorded went through. That shit is scary.

          1. I lived through an F1. Don’t want to meet anything bigger.

            1. We were hiding in the basement of the Catholic Church. The window wells were probably 5 feet deep, with covers on them. The hail broke one of the covers, and that window will filled with water in less than a minute. It looked like a fish tank. I don’t know why that window didn’t break.
              Our car had a few baseball size dents and a broken windshield. The dog house had a hole all the way through the roof. And the thunder sounded like cannons.

              1. I don’t think anybody died, by some miracle.

              2. It’s nasty stuff, for sure. On the other hand, OK doesn’t know what a real blizzard looks like, or a hurricane.

    2. “Wouldn’t thunderstorms be a good thing? They’ll keep people indoors, meaning less chance of rioting.”

      Depends on if you think that is a good thing. I’d rather see their true selves exposed.

  9. So the Legion of Trigglypuffs stays home for the RNC, but is now turned loose on the city of brotherly shove a couple of days after the wikileaks revelations? And their leaders are actually on the floor of the DNC?

    Trump should troll this all week–offer Bernie a position in his cabinet (Secretary of Balls of Yarn) and concern troll the hard left and lefty populists about globalism and the political corruption of Hopey-Changey-era Democrats.

    You done got Assanged, motherfuckers.

    1. Holy shit yes! Offer Bernie an advisory post. My God the fun that would be to watch.

      1. Special advisor to the office of statistical improbabilities and foolish consistencies..

        1. Secretary of unintended consequences.

          1. “unintended consequences” would tend to signify some sort of moronic innocence, but.. as they’re not due any benefit of the doubt, malign intent would be somewhat more appropriate, if not intellectually honest.

    2. Bernie should be Secretary of Agriculture, in charge of planting the trees for all the free money to grow on.

    3. This has been obvious since it was Bernie vs Hillary.

  10. Hey guys, remember all those doomsday protests that were gonna happen at the last convention but didn’t really happen? Well guess what! The doomsday protests at this new convention are gonna be even worse! The worstest even! Cats and dogs living together! Mass hysteria! Female Ghostbusters!

    1. They’re off to a good start.

  11. Anyone know where the picture for this article was taken? It doesn’t look like anything near the DNC.

  12. Not that I want anything bad to happen to anyone …

    But it would be funny if AmSoc was trampled by a rabid group of Marxist protesting Hillary.

  13. the Republican Party is solidly behind Trump

    Are they allowed to say that here?

  14. I’m hoping for a DNC bloodbath. The RNC was a big disappointment.
    I am a big fan of Riot Porn.
    I know. It’s not ethical, and lacking in principle.
    Damn though. Watching some good old Derp on Derp violence is entertaining. =D

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPCXcNIPvwk

    1. RNC was never going to be bad. It’s the “progressives” who advocate violence.

  15. I’d expect high temperatures to increase the level of crazy.

    The people most likely to be protesting in the area are already naturally irritating. Adding high heat to the equation will only make them more irritating.


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  17. ha ha, smaller, quieter, more peaceful than R convention.

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