Scores of protesters sought to symbolically – and for a time, physically – “wall off” Donald Trump, his policies and his supporters from the Republican National Convention Wednesday afternoon.
They stood their ground in front of the Quicken Loans Arena blocking supporters for about 20 minutes before police intervened.
They held aloft a banner emblazoned with bricks (some physically wore the banner) to symbolize a wall, hearkening to Trump’s rallying cry of building a wall along the border of Mexico to stem the flow of illegal immigration.
The banner was paid for from $15,000 in crowdfunding donations received on Indiegogo, including more than 600 individual donations.
“If Trump is set on building a wall. We’re going to give it to him,” said Marisa Franco, director of Mijente, in a press release issued before the march. “But we’ll be walling off his hate. We won’t go quietly as he campaigns to put us back in the closet, back across the border, or to the back of the bus.”
At one point, the banner and those holding it, stretched about a block in length while chanting echoed in the streets between downtown Cleveland’s Public Square and Quicken Loans Arena. The route from the square stretched for about six blocks before it reached the security perimeter outside the arena where Donald Trump was expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon.
The group remained outside the arena for a while chanting and speaking to reporters. A few other protesters joined the crowd, including two holding signs that mocked "insecure" white men who support Trump.
The #WallOffTrump protest eventually began moving again, heading back the way it came before coming to a stop in Public Square.
Many pieces of the human wall dispersed, while others remained in the square addressing the crowd or speaking to reporters.
Reactions to the protest among those in Public Square split predictably along partisan lines.
Steve Polovick, who carried a sign reading “Mean People Suck,” strongly supported the wall effort.
“I like that,” he said. “A little more proactive, a little more visible, but I like it. I’m a big fan of bridges and not walls.”
A former Bernie Sanders supporter, Oskar Mosco, did not know much about the #WallOffTrump group’s plans but he seemed impressed by their work.
“It looks like they put a lot of effort in it,” he said.
Mike, a Trump-backing, pro-life Christian from Wisconsin, traveled down to Ohio specifically for the convention.
“I took a whole week off just to come down here and make sure Lyin’ Ted Cruz didn’t steal it,” he said.
Mike said he has been arguing with anti-Trump protesters, including those participating in the wall stunt, and found they were unable to articulate what he would consider a consistent position on illegal immigration.
“They don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “I asked those people, I said, ‘Do you have a front door on your house?’ ‘Well, yeah, that’s different.’ ‘How is that different?’”
Those involved in the wall protest defended the symbolic gesture they were engaged in.
“I just want to make my voice heard against Donald Trump, against the systemic racism, against mass deportations, you know, you name it,” said Aaron, a young man from Canton, during the March.
He was pleased to see the protest did not turn violent, and he suggested that was partly because police were watching the group so closely, with dozens of officers flanking them on all sides.
Daniel from Detroit offered a similar explanation, accusing Trump of promoting a dangerous strain of racism.
“The racism that Trump puts out and then people eat up is something that is very wrong with the United States and we need to confront it. It needs to go.”
He too was happy to see the protest remain peaceful, and he felt it sent a strong signal.
“I think the wall could be about three miles longer, surround this whole convention, but I think it’s a pretty powerful symbol.”
Elsewhere, in an unrelated form of protest, someone "walled off" Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Warning: Video below contains language that may be offensive to some.
This story will be updated.
Sinclair Broadcast Group digital reporter Stephen Loiaconi reported from Cleveland. Online content producer Nick DiMarco reported from Washington, D.C.