Hundreds of protesters — some wielding air horns and whistles — gathered outside the White House on Thursday night as President Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination on the South Lawn.
The demonstration followed calls on social media for protesters to try to disrupt the president's outdoor speech by making lots of noise. Federal officials erected extra fencing around the White House this week apparently to keep protesters farther away.
Reporters at the protest site described the mood as festive ahead of the speech and said there was a police presence but no sign of a large federal response.
Reporters on the South Lawn said they could hear police sirens, but they described the protesters as being only faintly audible. That began to change after Ivanka Trump took the stage to introduce her father — attendees could hear some of the horns and music being blasted by demonstrators.
After Trump began to speak, attendees could hear what sounded like vuvuzelas on the lawn. Some of the horns could be heard on livestreams of Trump's speech, but the president either didn't notice or didn't acknowledge the noise. By 11 pm E.T. — after Trump had been speaking for more than a half hour — the crowd began to thin out.
At Black Lives Matter Plaza, some protesters were spray-painting "defund the police" on the street.
After the president's speech, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., claimed on Twitter that he was "attacked by an angry mob of over 100" near the White House. Video clips circulating on Twitter showed protesters confronting the senator, with some protesters yelling "Breonna Taylor" and "say her name," as police escorted him away.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, retweeted Paul and said, “Horrific. Our prayers are with you, my friend. @RandPaul This madness has to stop.”
Thursday's demonstration followed protests around the country over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in the back by police Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is paralyzed from the waist down, his father said.
A peaceful demonstration outside the White House after the death of George Floyd, the Black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis, was brought to a violent end when federal forces used tear gas and physical force to force the protesters away from the White House. After they were cleared out, Trump crossed the emptied street for a photo opportunity outside a church that had been vandalized the night before.
CORRECTION (Aug. 27, 2020, 10:35 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misnamed the street where protesters were demonstrating against President Donald Trump. It is Black Lives Matter Plaza, not Black Lives Plaza.