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New Security Plans for Republican National Convention are Subject of ACLU Lawsuit

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New Security Plans for Republican National Convention are Subject of ACLU Lawsuit

June 21, 2024 5:26 PM CDT

By: Ella Saph

MILWAUKEE (Civic Media) – The United States Secret Service has announced increased security measures prior to the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Milwaukee July 15-18. The new precautions are expected to pose challenges for vehicles, pedestrians, and public transit in downtown Milwaukee, and according to the ACLU, are in violation of First Amendment rights.

Two to three blocks around major convention centers–the Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Panther Arena, and the Baird Center–will be affected the most by the new security measures. Two security perimeters will be enforced starting on July 14. The outer perimeter will allow vehicles to pass through a security checkpoint, but only pedestrians with clearance can pass the inner perimeter and enter the convention.

The security plans have also designated two “protesting zones” along the inner perimeter, which are now the subject of an ACLU lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed June 5, argues “Milwaukee’s ordinances governing parade and protest activity directly violate the First Amendment by unlawfully limiting the locations where protesters can parade and exercise their right to free speech during the RNC.”

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle contradicted the ACLU’s claim in a press conference today in Milwaukee.

“I’d like to reassure everyone that the Secret Service and our public safety partners respect every American’s First Amendment right to express themselves,” said Cheatle.

The protesting zones include platforms and speaker systems provided by the City of Milwaukee; demonstrators can sign up to speak for 30 minutes. One zone has a “parade” route marked off for demonstrators. The zones will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Milwaukee County Transit System buses will be altering routes the locations of bus stops while the RNC is in town. Temporary bus stop signs are going to be placed around the security perimeter. The City of Milwaukee asks riders to prepare for delays by factoring them into travel plans.

Because of its size and political significance, the RNC was designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE). This designation placed the U.S. Secret Service in charge of designing and implementing security measures. The RNC is expecting to attract 50,000 attendees.

Mail, trash, and delivery services will remain operational, with slightly adjusted hours. Detailed information on street closures can be found on the City of Milwaukee website.

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