The Republican National Convention doesn’t kick off officially until next week, but that hasn’t stopped protesters from getting a head start. The National Convention of the Oppressed, chaired and organized by Malik Z. Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice, began Thursday, but the convention’s “main highlight,” the National March and Massive Rally Against Racism, Injustice and White Supremacy, was promised Saturday afternoon.

If we seem to be hammering the “massive” aspect of the march and rally, don’t blame us — the official press release announcing the event used the word massive three times, not to mention its appearance on signs and flyers.

“Attorney Malik Shabazz, Dr. Cornell West, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the New Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement, Latino groups and others are expected to attend the massive outdoor rally and march,” said the release.

Cleveland police have said they’re ready for a week of protests outside the RNC, so today’s intimate get together was a nice warm-up for next week’s crowd control challenges.

To be fair, those photos were taken between the designated 10 a.m. gathering time and the rally itself, which was set for noon, by which time the crowd had swelled to somewhere between 50 and 100.

Fox News’ Mike Tobin was on scene and broadcast live from the site of the rally around 3:30 p.m, about a half-hour before it was scheduled to wrap up.

One of the focuses of the rally was police brutality, which brings up an interesting bit of trivia. Perk Park, much like Cleveland’s newly renovated Public Square, was torn up and redesigned as an open green space after police long complained that the old park was a haven for criminals.

A makeover was announced in 2003 but finally kicked into high gear in 2009 after two men were robbed, lured into the park, and shot, execution-style. A candlelight vigil, but no protest or march, was held in the same location where the massive crowd assembled today.

Photos show somewhat fewer than 10,000. Cleveland.com announced its crowd count at around 70. Seriously: Hillary Clinton’s aides could have wrangled the marchers with a few pieces of clothesline.

 

Fact check: true. Not everyone was yelling at police, though; Lisa Bonner not only attended the rally but hugged as many police officers as she could get her arms around.