CLEVELAND (AP) — Hundreds of people have gathered at a peaceful rally along a major bridge near downtown Cleveland the day before the Republican National Convention gets underway.
The "Circle the City With Love" event began with a Dixieland-style band leading participants onto the bridge on Sunday afternoon.
Once people lined the entire bridge on either side, they held hands and waited in silence for several minutes.
After an air horn signaled the end of the vigil, the participants, including several children, walked back off the bridge.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) says he doesn't have authority to suspend the state's law allowing people to openly carry guns.
Kasich responded Sunday to a request by the Cleveland police union president for the suspension of the law during the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday.
The request by union president Steve Loomis followed Sunday morning's fatal shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Kasich says Ohio governors don't have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or laws.
Kasich, a Republican, called law enforcement a noble and essential calling and said people are grieving again after new attacks on officers.
Kasich says the bonds between communities and police must be reset and rebuilt.
An Ohio man says he decided to visit Cleveland's Public Square armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun the day before the start of the Republican National Convention to assert his Second Amendment rights.
A group called Northeast Ohio Open Carry had planned a noon rally Sunday in downtown Cleveland, but only 57-year-old Steve Thacker showed up with guns. He drew attention from news media as Cleveland police officers milled nearby and a line of around 60 police bicyclists took a break before pedaling off.
Ohio law allows legal gun owners to openly carry firearms. Thacker says he was trying to make a statement about his rights. He complained that fees and background checks associated with purchasing weapons results in the government "selling back" his privilege to buy and own firearms.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams says it seems "everyone is coming" to the city to exercise their First Amendment rights.
The Republican National Convention starts Monday, and Williams said in a Sunday appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" he expects groups of all stripes to be vocal throughout the four-day convention when reality TV star and businessman Donald Trump presumably will be named the party's nominee for president.
Williams says he's hearing that anarchists, separatists, anti-Trump protesters, "everyone is coming to Cleveland to protest or exercise their First Amendment rights."
He acknowledged Ohio's open-carry gun law in assuring his force is committed to public safety, and said scenarios like the recent slayings of five Dallas police officers had already been included in police preparations.