Questions loom large concerning what kind of disputes might break out on the floor of the Republican National Convention in light of the party's most unconventional 2016 presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. But another question raising concerns is what might go on beyond the confines of the Quicken Loans Arena where the delegates will convene. Dozens of groups plan to descend upon Cleveland, Ohio, to protest the Republican convention; these groups represent very different interests, and, due to a history of violent clashes between Trump supporters and opponents, there is cause for concern.
Not surprisingly, many of the groups represent liberal causes that take issue with not only the Republican Party's general tack, but with Trump's inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims, Mexicans, and women. WOIO Cleveland 19 News reported that some of the groups protesting the Republican National Convention include the Imperial Women Coalition, a local group that combats violence against women, the Greater Cleveland Immigration Network, Code Pink Women for Peace, and Salam I Come In Peace, a movement against Islamophobia.
Coming out of a completely different corner (of the universe) will be the Westboro Baptist Church, whose affiliates will show up, at some point between July 18 and July 21, to protest Trump. They'll be protesting the Democratic convention as well, according to Cleveland.com. Rachel Hockenbarger, who filed for the church's protest permit, told Cleveland.com: "There is not a nickel's worth of difference between the Republicans, the Democrats, the Libertarians, or anything else they want to call themselves."
But not everyone heading to Cleveland will be there to protest Trump. Bikers For Trump plans to be there, according to Breitbart, to provide security to delegates against what one Biker For Trump member called "paid agitators" on the left, who he claimed have staged attacks on Trump supporters at rallies.
Perhaps the greatest cause for concern is the Traditionalist Workers Party's plan to send representatives to act as security for Trump supporters, as reported by Gothamist. The white nationalist group's march in Sacramento in late June was met by a protest group; the clash quickly became violent, and seven people were stabbed. This occurred just months after violence broke out at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim between Klansmen and protesters, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The protest grounds at the Republican National Convention will see tens of thousands of people from the far left, far right, and far out. There might be even more tension outside the convention center than within it.