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USA: Protests in Cleveland Largely Peaceful, with Some Questions About Dispersals and Arrests

    Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
    July 21, 2016

    Amnesty International has deployed human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, this week and will do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, next week. The following is a statement from Eric Ferrero, Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives, on the protests in Cleveland on July 20:

    “Amnesty International's human rights observers were at several protests or marches today, including one where police ordered the crowd to disperse and arrested multiple people.” 

    “Our observers saw protests that appeared largely peaceful, with police for the most part fulfilling their duty to protect people's right to protest. Our observers gathered follow-up information and corroboration about several events they monitored, in order to better understand the context.” 

    “The order to disperse a protest today appeared appropriate based on the circumstances that our team observed and the information they reviewed. Based on observation this week, we do have some concerns that orders to disperse are being implemented in a way that could make it difficult for protesters to comply with them. At protests yesterday and today, exit routes from protests were blocked by police or appeared impassable for people with disabilities, and dispersal orders were not clearly audible to all protesters. We also have concerns that some media were blocked from getting to a protest site today because of police barricades.” 

    “We are still gathering information and context about the arrests made today and about whether police used pepper spray on dispersing one protest. There is conflicting information on these events, and our observers are continuing to talk to witnesses and review photo and videos.” 

    Amnesty International's human rights observers will continue to monitor protests tonight and tomorrow in Cleveland and next week in Philadelphia.


    For media inquiries, contact Jacob Kuehn: 613-744-7667, ext 236 //