Dozens of police officers swarmed protestors from the activist group Code Pink outside a main entrance to the Republican National Convention Tuesday, because they were holding tennis balls.
In June, the City of Cleveland added tennis balls to its list of prohibited items inside a 3.3 square mile “event zone” surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena. Other prohibited items included tape, rope, bike locks, and any stepstool that could be used to address a crowd. But the prohibition did not apply to guns – meaning that convention attendees and onlookers are allowed to openly carry firearms, including assault weapons.
Cleveland police requested that Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspend open carry laws inside the “event zone,” but he denied the request.
The Code Pink protestors used hundreds of tennis balls to mock the permissive attitude toward guns and protest the Republican stance on the Second Amendment.
But dozens of police officers armed with guns and batons quickly swarmed the protest group, gathering the dangerous objects and throwing them in garbage bags.
Cleveland police told protestors the tennis balls were “a banned item,” and “they were just following orders.”
According to Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin, an officer told her “tennis balls can be very dangerous, because you can open them up and put something inside of them.” The officer suggested that they could be filled with feces. Benjamin replied that assault weapons were more dangerous, but the officer reiterated that he was just following orders.
Dozens more police then showed up and formed lines, blocking off a path toward the convention hall to protect delegates from the protestors’ frightening tennis balls.
Protestors began chanting: “How many people die a year in tennis-related accidents?”