After more Trump-rally clashes, is Cleveland ready for GOP Convention?

Violent protests after a San Jose Trump rally raise questions about Cleveland's ability to handle clashes when an expected 50,000 visitors attend the convention in July.

Noah Berger/AP
Police form a line to contain protesters outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday in San Jose, Calif.

Protesters mobbed Donald Trump supporters following a Trump rally in San Jose Thursday – a reminder of questions about whether Cleveland authorities will have the capacity to handle potentially larger confrontations around the Republican Convention in July.

Around 300 protesters descended on supporters of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee outside the San Jose Convention Center, punching more than 12 people, throwing eggs, chasing Trump supporters, and banging on their cars.

Such scenes have become increasingly common outside Trump rallies and have placed added pressure on Cleveland officials to step up security planning efforts head of the convention scheduled for July 18-21.

Earlier this week, Cleveland authorities made assurances they had strong plans in place ahead of the convention to handle potential clashes between opponents and protesters as an estimated 50,000 visitors descend on the Ohio city.

"The city of Cleveland under Mayor [Frank] Jackson's direction really has been 'all in' going back several years in wooing the convention here," Ed Eckert, the city's assistant public safety director, told reporters on Tuesday, as reports. "And since we've been awarded the convention, everyone at City Hall has been fully engaged."

The city is also bringing in some of the nation's top security officials, who helped with Pope Francis's visit in Philadelphia and also the Washington Nuclear Security Summit, to bolster public safety.

But other out-of-state authorities who had initially offered to help have since declined, citing their perception that Cleveland is not prepared to host the convention.

The North Carolina Police Department was going to send 50 of its officers but has since withdrawn the offer, also citing worries about local staffing and worker compensation.

The Cleveland county's 911 service went down for around 20 minutes earlier this week, leading to questions over whether the city's infrastructure is up to the expected influx of visitors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

However, the city’s police chief Calvin Williams said the city is up to the task.

"A lot of the focus has been put on the police, and are we prepared for this convention," he said. "We are prepared, we are ready, and our partners are out there prepared and ready."

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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