Westboro protests amid chaotic scenes at Republican Convention

Protesters from the Westboro Baptist ChurchReuters

Members of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church were among protesters in the Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio yesterday to coincide with the second day of the Republican National Convention.

Amid what the website Quartz called "a chaotic sea of police, journalists, and counter-protesters" the group of five ultra-conservative Westboro Baptist Church members held signs saying "Fags Doom Nations" and "Divorce Remarriage and Same-Sex 'Marriage' Are All Sin."

One of the protesters from Westboro Baptist Church, which is known for its anti-gay views and protests at military funerals, told Quartz: "We have a duty to warn. If we don't warn and they go to hell, their blood is on us."

Counter-protesters held spoof signs with statements such as "God Hates Morning People".

But some of the scenes at the square were more serious yesterday. The local news website Cleveland.com reported racially charged scuffles earlier in the afternoon.

It said that more than 500 people including Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and hundreds of police officers collided after racial epithets were shouted during protests, including "Nazi scum, off our streets".

Some protesters called the police "pigs", the website reported, amid claims by officers that urine had been thrown at them.

"Tension mounted as the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrated briefly then marched down Euclid Avenue. The hate-group returned to Public Square as the crowd began to swell and protesters began to clash," Cleveland.com said.

One man with a loudspeaker told BLM protesters that their leader was Michael X Johnson, the sniper who killed five Dallas police officers earlier this month. This was met with counter-chants of "Love trumps hate".

Despite the chaotic scenes, no arrests were made according to Cleveland.com.