The Westboro Baptist Church just got shouted down at the Republican Convention
Things got mad today
Every denomination of American protester descended on Cleveland’s Public Square in a series of heated demonstrations today.
Trump lovers, Trump haters, 9/11 Truthers, Second Amendment fanatics, Black Lives Matter, antifascists, and even the Westboro Baptist Church were out in force in the tensest scenes at the Republican Convention so far.
Hundreds of police, some heavily armed, put a stop to any possible clashes between the warring camps – and there were moments, especially when protesters were yelling blue murder in each other’s faces, which could have turned ugly.
One episode came when sweating conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the tinfoil hatter himself, arrived on the square, and an epic scrum of shouting protesters and snapping media formed immediately around him.
“Hillary for prison,” he chanted, before railing against the evils of globalism and plugging his website, Info Wars, which sells the favorite t-shirt of the RNC, emblazoned with the same chant.
The Westboro Baptist Church, that mid-noughties throwback of “God Hates Fags” fame, also traveled from their home in Topeka, Kansas to howl about Obama (“the pervert-in-chief”), America (“doomed”), and gays (“their lifespan is half that of a normal human”).
They were shouted down by demonstrators carrying their own comedy signs.
— Harry Shukman (@HShukman) July 20, 2016
If yesterday’s America First rally was for the GOP hardcore, today’s was loosely held to give voice to the anti-Republican brigade.
These were made of people like Nicole and Kelly, holding a “fuck your badge” sign, who told me they had driven all the way from Las Vegas.
“We’ve had no trouble so far,” Kelly said, as a softly-spoken man passed by to ask why he had to “use profanity” on his sign.
Another was Micah Naziri, a smartly dressed man carrying an assault weapon he made himself, who said he brought it along for protection.
“I’m carrying this to say never again, no fascism on American soil. No fourth reich, no police state. I would use it only in the context of legitimate guerrilla warfare against a Nazi-esque regime.”
I wasn’t sure if I quite understood, so I asked about the different weapons he carried. With a smile, he said: “I’ve got this AR-15 style rifle, two glocks, a taser, and spare ammo.”
By far the strangest there was a wizard-looking man who gave his name as Vermin Supreme. He has been somewhat of a darling of the convention so far, appearing at every outdoor meet-up in the city. He was there with the customary Wellington boot on his head, and said: “I’m running for President.”
But this being the RNC, the square had more than its fair share of Republican voters, like Trump bro Brendan, who came here from Washington DC.
And Christian missionary Ron Brock, who arrived in his traveling anti-abortion motor home, where he has lived since 1996.
“I’m a witness to our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, that’s why I’m here,” he explained.