Sixteen people were arrested outside the Republican National Convention after injuring police officers while burning American flags in protest.
The incident occurred on July 20, several blocks from the Quicken Loans Arena where the convention was taking place, Fox News reported.
Protesters began lighting American flags on fire. One of the fires was started by a woman, whom officers quickly detained. Another protester lit himself on fire while trying to burn the American flag, CBS News reported.
"You're on fire. You're on fire, stupid," an officer reportedly shouted at protesters, while wielding a can of extinguishing spray.
“I just ducked and rolled,” said Jacob Lutz, a Cleveland State University graduate student, told Fox News. “Police were yelling, ‘Get out of the way.' They snuffed it out super quick.”
The woman was part of a larger group of protesters. The protesters chanted “America Was Never Great” while being taken into custody.
Carl Dix, a representative of Revolutionary Communist Party, told the Fox News that protesters burned the flag to make a "political statement about the crimes of the American empire."
Police said two officers had minor injuries from the incident. One officer was bleeding from his elbow.
The incident brings the total number of protest-related arrests for the week up to 22, according to Cleveland Police Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia.
Police Chief Calvin Williams remained optimistic.
“Right now, I think so far, so good,” Williams told reporters. “We’re still out there, we’re still vigilant, to make sure we finish this day and the last day tomorrow on a positive note.”
The U.S. SupremeCourt decided in 1989 that burning the American flag is protected by the First Amendment.