Republican convention backs law enforcement after deadly protests

With racial tension reignited, Trump campaign says it stands with police

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Republicans began the third night of their convention on Thursday with an aggressive defence of law enforcement after two protesters died in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday.

The party reinforced its law-and-order message, with US President Donald Trump as a supporter of police, after a deadly night of clashes between pro-police demonstrators and Black Lives Matter activists.

A white protester, 17, there to support the police, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree homicide after two people were shot and killed in the demonstration.

The violence in Kenosha was sparked when police shot African-American Jacob Blake, 29, repeatedly in the back at close range on Sunday.

Blake is recovering in hospital but doctors say it is unlikely he will walk again.

The shooting reignited protests against racism and police brutality that erupted across the US earlier in the summer.

“We will not stand for looting, arson, violence and lawlessness on American streets,” Mr Trump said on Twitter.

Hours before the convention resumed, he said he would send federal law-enforcement to Kenosha in agreement with the state’s governor.

Speakers at the convention reinforced the grim warnings of the previous two nights of a return to lawlessness if Mr Trump were to be denied a second term.

Vice President Mike Pence, whose speech capped off the evening, warned Americans about a future under Mr Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

“The hard truth is, you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” he said of the former vice president.

“Under President Trump, we will stand with those who stand on the Thin Blue Line and we’re not going to defund the police – not now, not ever.”

Mr Biden has resisted liberal activist calls to cut police funding.

He promised to invest $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) in a programme that gives grants for hiring officers from under-represented backgrounds and trains them to have less-adversarial relationships with communities.

Mr Pence spent part of his address on the US armed forces, repeating many of the foreign-policy achievements that have been promoted throughout the convention.

He praised the US soldiers who played a role in killing ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.

“We’ve taken the fight to radical Islamic terrorists on our terms, on their soil,” Mr Pence said.

He applauded Mr Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The convention also made direct appeals to female voters, with polls showing many women who voted for Mr Trump four years ago no longer support his leadership.

Departing White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, one of Mr Trump’s longest-serving advisers, portrayed him as a champion of women.

Ms Conway said he helped her to “shatter a barrier in the world of politics” by letting her manage his campaign.

Mr Trump’s victory in 2016 made her the first woman to lead a successful US presidential bid.

Ms Conway announced last week she would be leaving her White House role at the end of the month to focus on her family.

It was a decision made after her daughter Claudia, 15, posted a tweet that went viral, It said: “My mother’s job ruined my life.”

In her speech, Ms Conway did not mention that more than a dozen women have accused Mr Trump of sexual misconduct.

Throughout the convention, he and his allies sought to distance themselves from the reality of his legacy in the White House.

It has been marred by criminal investigations into close associates, harsh immigration measures and divisive speech that contributed to inflaming racial tension.

Mr Trump, who addressed the convention during the first two days, was notably silent on the third.

His only appearance was a brief one alongside Mr Pence at the end of the evening.

While the speaking slots at the Republican convention were primarily given to Mr Trump’s family and staff, one notable inclusion was Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who portrayed the Democrats as weak on China.

“The US must use its values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law to gather a coalition of other democracies to stop the  [Chinese Communist Party's] aggression,” Mr Chen told the convention.

The human rights activist spent more than four years in a Chinese prison before escaping house arrest and taking refuge in the US embassy in Beijing.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was so instrumental in his release that Mr Chen reportedly told her: “I want to kiss you.”

Mr Chen is a divisive figure in China and abroad. Other Chinese human rights activists have criticised his right-wing politics as incompatible with his demands for human rights.