• Press Release

Amnesty International: Protests Largely Peaceful, with Some Questions About Dispersals and Arrests

July 21, 2016

Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has deployed human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, this week and will do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, next week. The following is a statement from Eric Ferrero, AIUSA’s Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives, on the protests in Cleveland on July 20:

"Amnesty International's human rights observers were at several protests or marches today, including one where police ordered the crowd to disperse and arrested multiple people.

"Our observers saw protests that appeared largely peaceful, with police for the most part fulfilling their duty to protect people's right to protest. Our observers gathered follow-up information and corroboration about several events they monitored, in order to better understand the context.

"The observers have now seen two orders to disperse protests in the last two days, and we are continuing to gather information about how those decisions were made and communicated. Based on observation this week, we do have some concerns that orders to disperse are being implemented in a way that could make it difficult for protesters to comply with them. At a protest today, exit routes from protests were blocked by police or appeared impassable for people with disabilities, and dispersal orders were not clearly audible to all protesters.

"We are still gathering information and context about the arrests made today and about whether police used pepper spray when dispersing one protest. There is conflicting information on these events, and our observers are continuing to talk to witnesses and review photo and videos."

Amnesty International's human rights observers will continue to monitor protests tonight and tomorrow in Cleveland and next week in Philadelphia.

For more on Amnesty International USA's delegation

AIUSA’s letter to the Cleveland Police Department

AIUSA’s letter to the Philadelphia Police Department

A list of best practices on the policing of protests with respect for human rights, as identified by Amnesty International and shared with both police departments