UPDATED: 7:28 p.m. EDT — The number of arrests Wednesday in Cleveland surrounding groups of protesters fighting after one of them burned American flags has risen to 17, according to a new report. Previously the number of arrests was reported at 10.
Wednesday marked the first arrests of the week at the Republican National Convention, and two of them were reportedly felonies for assaulting officers. The other people who were taken into custody were arrested for various misdemeanors.
Los Angeles Times reporter James Queally tweeted that officers only converged on the demonstration once a protester's pants caught on fire and not because of the flag burning.
Two officers sustained "minor injuries" in Cleveland after being assaulted Wednesday by protesters as public demonstrations surrounding the Republican National Convention raged for a third straight day, according to the Cleveland Police Department. "A few arrests" were made after police orders to vacate the area of the city's downtown were reportedly ignored by protesters who were pushing officers.
News reports and videos circulated on social media about the increasingly tense nature of protests that have included activists from Black Lives Matter, the Ku Klux Klan and the Westboro Baptist Church, in addition to ardent supporters for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was immediately unclear which groups were involved in the assaults Wednesday.
The Cleveland Police Department consequently issued a "Dispersal Order" for everyone in the city's East 4th neighborhood near Prospect Avenue, including media.
According to the local Fox affiliate Fox8, five people have been arrested for assaulting the two officers after a group began to burn American flags, which sparked physical confrontations between competing groups, forcing police to step in.
Despite the day's activities, the number of arrests is relatively low considering the overall tone of the presidential primary season, which saw scores of arrests and fights break out at various Trump rallies and events across the country. Cleveland police had geared up in preparation for the RNC protests, with officers on foot, horseback and bicycle deployed to the city's downtown area near Quicken Loans Arena.
Protests Tuesday were equally contentious as controversial radio journalist and reputed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones had a provocative confrontation with conservative and liberal protesters alike that resulted in police removing him from the area. Still, no arrests were made in that case as police exercised apparent restraint and discretion during the contentious moments.
This is a developing story.