(Cleveland) - Security was just as tight outside Cleveland Clinic's Samson Pavilion as it was outside Quicken Loans Arena in 2016 for the Republican National Convention. There were high chain link fences everywhere, and Jersey walls holding up those fences.
The number of people in the debate hall could be counted in the dozens, with the numbers limited due to COVID-19. Space in the media center was also limited for the same reason.
Outside, there were groups of demonstrators, but they were blocks away from the debate hall. The largest group was at a Black Lives Matter rally on the north end of University Circle's Wade Lagoon, near the steps of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Even though it was sponsored by BLM, it attracted all kinds of people carrying signs with various anti-Trump messages.
Union members were demonstrating a few blocks west on Chester Avenue, and doctors, demonstrating for better health care, marched and stood along Carnegie Avenue.
Only a handful of pro-Trump demonstrators were seen in the area.
Cleveland Police were assisted by police from various suburbs, even from rural areas in Medina County. There were Ohio National Guard troops standing along Carnegie Avenue.
At a news briefing Wednesday, city officials said there were an estimated 1,000 demonstrators near the debate site, at Wade Lagoon, and downtown. There were four arrests. One was for driving under suspension, one for failure to comply with police orders, one for trespassing, and the fourth for attempted petty theft of a police officer's equipment.
Police Chief Calvin Williams says there were about 760 police officers assigned to be around the Samson Pavilion and elsewhere in the Fairfax neighborhood. The estimated cost to the city is between $450-500,000, much of which will be reimbursed to the city by Cleveland Clinic.
(Photos by Tom Moore, WTAM)
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