Groups descend upon Public Square to protest RTA closure

CLEVELAND - Multiple protests descended on Public Square, one voicing displeasure with President-elect Donald Trump, the other rallying against the city's early decision to close the square to RTA transportation.

Clevelanders for Public Transit organized a rally at 3 p.m. against the decision to close the square, which they say was done without any consultation with the public and creates an inconvenience to commuters in the city.

Organizer Nathan Malachowski said around 60 people were in attendance, including Cleveland City Council member Zack Reed.

The group had a list of three demands for the city:

  1. Reopen Public Square until any potential modifications are approved by the Federal Transit Administration
  2. Complete a vigorous study of an Open Public Square per the original design of the space for a 6 month trial period
  3. Release the "study" completed by the city before the end of the year to the general public.

On a flyer distributed to attendees, the group urged citizens to call Mayor Frank Jackson to voice their displeasure with the decision. 

Malachowski said there were several community leaders and RTA riders who spoke at the event. Included in the speaking list are Yavonka Hall, from the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, Derek Bauman, from the NAACP, and Michael Berier, from the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus.

Clevelanders for Public Transit touts itself as a riders' organization in partnership with labor and community allies. They organized to reduce fair increases and route cuts earlier this year, and organizers say they plan to continue their work around public transit in Cleveland in 2016.

Donald Trump Protest

Protesters also massed around Public Square to voice their displeasure with President-elect Donald Trump as he transitions into the White House.

The Facebook event for the protest had over 1,000 people interested and over 200 who said they would attend. 

The organizers of the event wrote on Facebook that "there is not a true singular goal - we each have something that we feel strongly about." 

"We must continue to gather, the electoral college sees us," the post continued. "While it's probable that Donald Trump will become the next president, the EC has not voted yet." 

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