Security ramps up in preparation for the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, which begins on July 18 and ends on July 21.
The four-day event, which will be attended by roughly 50,000 people, is expected to attract thousands of protesters. According to an article published by NBC News, there have been 123 permits provided to 58 different groups who plan on using the convention as a marching ground, and upwards of 11,000 people are expected to protest. As far as ramping up security, 5500 officers are to be entrusted with public safety at the convention.
Security concerns have swiftly gone up in the wake of the recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, as well as the chaos by anti-Trump protesters who dominated the Donald Trump rallies this past primary season.
Cleveland police union leader Stephen Loomis reacted to the murder of three Baton Rouge police officers on July 17 by suggesting Ohio Governor John Kasich declare a stopgap to the state’s open carry laws on certain firearms during the RNC. The convention will take place at the Quicken Loans Arena, and there is a 1.7-square-mile space specifically dedicated to the event.
According to a CNN article, Kasich denied Loomis his request.
“Kasich, responding to the request, said: ‘Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.
‘The bonds between our communities and police must be reset and rebuilt — as we’re doing in Ohio — so our communities and officers can both be safe. Everyone has an important role to play in that renewal,’ he said.”
Loomis insists that he and his fellow officers will do what they can to ramp up security by paying special attention to those who choose to arm themselves during the convention.
One pro-Trump group, Citizens for Trump, have their own plans in place to keep up with security concerns. Group leader Tim Selaty spoke with CNN a week ago.
“‘We’ve hired special forces teams for security,’ the group’s executive director, Tim Selaty, told CNN last week, declining to specify who would provide that extra security. ‘The Secret Service is well aware of what we’re doing and they’re going to be provided with everything they need to work in tandem with the local local law enforcement.'”
Another concern ramping up security measures comes in the form of anti-Trump rhetoric. Violent and chaotic protests, such as the ones that occurred in recent months at the Trump rallies in San Jose, California, Anaheim, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, have resulted in arrests, property damage, and injuries to civilians.
There’s no reason to believe the RNC will be an exception to this type of negative behavior.
A Voice of America article published on July 17 highlighted a few of the groups planning on attending the RNC to march and protest. One notable group is the New Black Panthers, a pro-Black, anti-police brutality movement separate from Black Lives Matter.
“The New Black Panther Party, a black nationalist group, drew headlines earlier this week after its leader said members would take advantage of Ohio’s gun laws that allow open carry of firearms outside the convention, but he later retracted that statement. The group is modeled after, but not associated with, the now-defunct Black Panthers, who frequently clashed with police in the 1960s and ’70s.”
Anti-fascist groups and white supremacy groups, according to the same article, will also be present at the convention, and the two are known to have engaged in hostile confrontations in the past.
“Anarchist and anti-fascist groups often make appearances at events hosted or attended by white supremacist groups, and the two sides occasionally engage in clashes. Tensions between anti-fascists and white supremacists spiked last month, after the two sides engaged in heavy clashes at a protest in Sacramento.”
As security ramps up on RNC grounds, most Americans are hoping the increased law enforcement is for naught. It’s better to be overly prepared instead of surprised and unequipped in situations such as these.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]