CLEVELAND – The First Amendment was in full display during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
About 200 people started with a verbal spat between Trump supporters and detractors, and grew as the groups' members gathered in response.
Around the downtown area, a show of force in law enforcement numbers comes from a strategic deployment of convention area security.
Most are armed with weapons, and are positioned along main streets and public squares, Some are and on horseback.
"It's a 1-to-2 ratio of police and press to actual people," observed journalist Mike Schlitt.
Federal dollars have paid for out-of-state reinforcements, including a team from the California Highway Patrol lined up under an historic statue near a block known as City Center.
California Highway Patrol Chief Reggie Chappelle described a few skirmishes but no violence among the variety of groups that gathered to speak and rally.
"We have protective gear that we can put on," he said, "but we are wearing uniforms mainly for comfort and to stand 12 hours in the heat," he said.
Some described the public law enforcement presence as a "police-state atmosphere," while others appreciated it, in light of recent violent episodes in cities across the country and around the world, and credited the show of force as a deterrent to violence here.