CLEVELAND – Protesters tried to burn American flags outside the Republican National Convention Wednesday afternoon, injuring police officers and leading to as many as 16 arrests.
Police quickly extinguished the fires, including at least one started by a woman whom officers grabbed from behind and kept on the ground.
“I just ducked and rolled,” said Jacob Lutz, a Cleveland State University graduate student who went to the protests on Public Square with one of his professors. “Police were yelling, ‘Get out of the way.' They snuffed it out super quick.”
The woman purportedly was part of a larger group of protesters, whose members were taken into custody and put in police vans while chanting “America Was Never Great.”
Officers on horseback and bicycles responded to the incident, including some in full riot gear and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.
"You're on fire. You're on fire, stupid," an officer shouted as he wielded a can of extinguishing spray.
Protestor lit flag on fire, then lit himself on fire, catching others on fire. Flames extinguished by firefighters. No serious injuries.— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) July 20, 2016
Carl Dix, a representative of Revolutionary Communist Party, said his group burned a flag as a "political statement about the crimes of the American empire."
Authorities said two officers suffered minor injuries as a result of being attacked in the incident, outside the convention security perimeter and several blocks from the Quicken Loans Arena, where Republicans are making their major speeches throughout the four-day event that ends Thursday.
One officer was seen bleeding from his elbow.
The arrests Wednesday bring the total number of protest-related arrests this week to 22, said Cleveland Police Sgt Jennifer Ciaccia.
FoxNews.com’s Joseph Weber, Fox News’ Griff Jenkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report.