Anti-Trump Activists Arrested Near RNC Site

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An activist is handcuffed with others after raising a banner from the flag poles outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19. Adrees Latif/Reuters

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Three women were arrested on Tuesday after climbing a flagpole near the site of this week's U.S. Republican National Convention and hanging a banner protesting the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

"Don't Trump our communities," read the banner hung near Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Using a ladder truck, fire officials brought down the protesters and the banner, which also had an anti-fracking message.

"They actually climbed the flagpole and hung a banner and our officers responded and made the arrests," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters. "They were arrested for criminal mischief."

He did not identify the people arrested. A Reuters witness who saw the incident said they were all women.

A total of five people have now been arrested during the convention and its run-up; earlier one man was arrested for trying to steal a police officer's gas mask and a woman was arrested on an outstanding warrant unrelated to protest activity.

The convention, which began on Monday and runs through Thursday, has been marked by largely peaceful protests so far. The event will formally anoint Trump, a wealthy New York real estate developer, as the Republican nominee to face Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the November 8 presidential election.

"We are still making sure that we don't let our guard down," Williams said, adding that the department's strategy was to try to de-escalate tense situations. "There is no need to do anything unless there is violence perpetrated against somebody."