"We have trained so hard and so long for this," Buckhorn said. "When this is said and done, this will be the benchmark that every city should strive for."
Castor said her strategy was to approach the protesters, ask what their goals are and then help them reach them. Often, protesters simply wanted to pose in an intersection for the media. She let them if they didn't intend violence. Officers even took leftover food to Romneyville.
"Everyone was to be treated with dignity and respect," Castor said.
The nature of downtown also made it harder for protesters to be heard. Few people live there and many businesses told their workers to stay away during the convention, leaving the streets nearly empty.
"We could protest until we're blue in the face but there weren't people normally around to see that," said Darrell Prince, a 35-year-old political fundraiser from New York who is part of Occupy Wall Street. "Whether it was intelligent design or they were just fortunate, it worked out for the RNC."
On Thursday, 16 protesters, watched by 35 officers, marched from Romneyville to Domino's Pizza to protest corporate-owned businesses. Despite the low numbers, protesters eked out some victories.
As Paul Ryan was in the midst of a speech accepting the vice presidential nomination on the convention floor, he was disrupted by a pink banner and a yelling protester from the feminist group Code Pink. She was escorted out as some in the crowd shouted "U-S-A, U-S-A."
Many Romneyville residents are relocating their impromptu community to Charlotte and the Democratic convention. They are hoping for bigger crowds and more energy, drawing on Occupy activists from cities along the Eastern seaboard.
"Who knows?" Sabattella said. "Maybe it can still happen."
Correspondent Tamara Lush contributed to this report.
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