MPT at the 2017 Republican National Convention
(Story below the pictures - - Scroll down)
Due to the Heightened Threat of Violence, META PEACE TEAM (MPT)
Sends Team to Republican National Convention
While Donald Trump and his newly tapped VP candidate Mike Pence headed to Ohio for the convention,Meta Peace Team (MPT) partnered with our fellow Shanti Sena Networkfriends, D.C. Peace Team (DCPT), and made the journey to Cleveland to help defuse potentially violent confrontations anticipated outside the Quicken Loans Arena, host site of the convention, and the surrounding areas where convention activities will take place.
The Peace Team extends non-partisan, unarmed civilian peacekeeping, protecting all from getting hurt (no matter the source of the aggression). Using some of the same kinds of nonviolent intervention skills that Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have used successfully, Peace Team members worked prevent anyone in attendance from getting hurt, while fully supporting everyone’s right to free speech and - where possible - cultivating empathy.
As the conference demonstration parades began, a police officer on a bike was moving along the yellow line on the street while the protesters marched in the street. He was continually using his back tire to bump a young African-American woman and saying “Get to the right!” She replied, "I hear you, I heard you," - becoming more and more anxious and irritated, though the officer kept bumping her. Immediately upon witnessing this exchange, a Peace Team member walked up to the two and caught the officer’s eye. The Team member put out his hand out to suggest the police officer stop, to which he rode off. The woman was able to regain her composure and return to the march.
Later, a white man in a car passing the marchers started to yell and gesture obscenely. The driver was traveling slowly, and a Peace Team member stopped and faced the man. They looked at him without animosity but with an air of confidence and their arms to the side. The driver looked at the Peace Team member and stopped his obscene hand gesture. The Team member let the marchers all pass behind him while he faced the driver. The driver calmed down, stopped yelling, and just drove off.
In both these instances, the Peace Team members’ early interventions were successful in preventing the interactions from escalating into something more heated and potentially violent.
While hundreds of arrests have been anticipated, as of Day 3 of the convention, only 5 people had been arrested. De-escalating potentially violent situations before they get out of hand has been key in this.
Meta Peace Team is a founding member of the Shanti Sena Network, modeled after Gandhi’s original idea of a Peace Army.