U.S. Secret Service and Milwaukee officials outline 2024 RNC security measures on June 21, outlining increased local security measures that will be in place in the days leading up to, during, and immediately following the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee from July 15 to 18.

People will be allowed to carry guns within blocks of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and protesters will be given two stages, one within sight of the convention arena, under the security plan by local and federal law enforcement authorities.

The plan comes in the wake of a federal lawsuit demanding protesters be allowed within view and hearing range of downtown Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum.

It calls for two roughly circular perimeters that extend for blocks around the arena. Vehicles will have to pass through checkpoints to travel between the two boundaries. Pedestrians will be allowed to move freely without being screened in that area. Only convention goers will be allowed within the inner perimeter.

No weapons of any kind will be allowed within the inner perimeter but people will be able to carry guns openly or concealed elsewhere as allowed under state law. Wisconsin statutes outlaw only machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, and silencers.

“It’s about behaviors,” Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said. “So, understand that there is going to be that level of surveillance and monitoring that that’s the particular right that you like to express. Just don’t do anything that could be considered a threat or harm to the public.”

More than 100 organizations have applied to demonstrate at the convention so far, Nick DeSiato, Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s chief of staff, said during a news conference.

The Coalition to March on the RNC, a group of local and national organizations including the Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America, immigrant advocacy group Voces de La Frontera and the American Party of Labor, has planned a protest parade on the first day of the convention.

The coalition contends that it has been trying to obtain a permit for the parade since April 2023 but city officials still haven’t granted it. The city also has been slow-walking release of a parade route, the coalition maintains, raising fears that the city won’t allow protesters within sight of the arena.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on the coalition’s behalf on June 5 alleging the delay in releasing a route amounts to a denial in violation of the coalition’s free speech rights.

The ACLU has asked U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig to issue a temporary injunction forcing the city to designate a route within sight and hearing of the arena and immediately process the coalition’s permit applications. Ludwig has set a scheduling conference for the case on Monday.

The security plan authorities released Friday establishes a parade route just inside the far southern edge of the outer perimeter, about five blocks from the arena, with a stage for speakers within the route.

Asked if he believes the route will satisfy the coalition, DeSiato said it runs along the inner perimeter fence and that was as close as authorities could get marchers to the arena when considering exit points and emergency vehicle access. He said setting up the route as a “very complicated math problem.”

The plan also establishes a stage for protest speakers on the northern edge of the perimeter about a block from Fiserv Forum.

DeSiato said the city will provide a sound system for speakers on both stages but each speaker will be limited to 20 minutes to ensure everyone gets a chance to talk.

ACLU attorney Tim Muth said in a statement that the organization was “surprised and disappointed” at the sheer size of the inner perimeter. The large radius makes it more important that the city allow free expression and assembly, he said, and he promised to continue the lawsuit.

“We hope for a swift ruling that will vindicate the Coalition’s plan for a march that passes within sight and sound of Fiserv Forum,” he said.

Vehicular, public transportation and pedestrian impacts should be expected downtown in the areas around the Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Panther Arena and the Baird Center. City residents and visitors are asked to expect delays throughout the week and plan accordingly.

“The goal of the U.S. Secret Service and our partners is to ensure a safe and secure environment, while minimizing impact to the public,” said Audrey Gibson-Cicchino, Assistant Special Agent in Charge and the U.S. Secret Service’s 2024 RNC Coordinator. “We understand that security for an event this size will have an impact on the city, and we appreciate residents’ patience and understanding as we work to keep convention attendees, volunteers and the public safe during this event.”

Temporary road closures will be in effect intermittently beginning July 11. Official closures will begin July 14 and run through approximately July 19.

“The Milwaukee Police Department is committed to keeping the entire City of Milwaukee safe during the RNC,” added Chief Norman. “We are grateful for our federal, state, county, and local partnerships that are working with us to ensure a safe event.”

The secure areas for the event are divided into a Vehicle Screening Perimeter, shaded in yellow on the public security map, and a Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter, shaded in red.

Vehicle Screening Perimeter: Residences and businesses inside the Vehicle Screening Perimeter will be accessible to the public. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to freely enter the Vehicle Screening Perimeter from any area.

Vehicles will be permitted to enter the Vehicle Screening Perimeter, though they must enter through a vehicle screening point, which are marked as black circles on the map. Rideshare/taxi drop-off and hot food delivery will be permitted in the Vehicle Screening Perimeter; drivers will just need to enter through a vehicle screening point.

Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter: The Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter will be accessible only to credentialed or ticketed individuals, such as convention attendees or volunteers. Pedestrians must enter through one of the pedestrian checkpoints, which will be marked on an attendee-specific map distributed to credentialed individuals.

Personal vehicles, as well as bicycles and small scooters, will not be permitted to enter the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter. Rideshare/taxi drop-off and hot food delivery will not be permitted in the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter.

Trash services, mail, and package delivery will continue in both perimeters; however, schedules will be shifted for service to occur in the overnight and early morning hours. All deliveries entering either perimeter must first go through the Remote Delivery Site located at 9th Street and St. Paul Avenue for screening. The Remote Delivery Site will be open beginning July 13 at 8:00 p.m. and continue operations until approximately July 19 at 1:00 a.m.

Maritime restrictions will be in place on both the Milwaukee River and the waters surrounding Henry Maier Festival Park and Lake Shore Park. A QR code with the complete list of restrictions will be available on the City of Milwaukee’s RNC FAQ website.

The 2024 Republican National Convention has been designated a National Special Security Event by the Department of Homeland Security, a designation that is based in part on the event’s significance, size, and attendees. Designating an event an NSSE allows for significant resources from the federal government, as well as state and local partners, to be used to ensure a robust security plan is in place.

The Coalition to March on the RNC 2024 condemned the routes proposed by the City of Milwaukee and the United States Secret Service (USSS) for their protest in a statement. They said the City had decided to ignore their First Amendment rights.

“There is absolutely no reason that they cannot accommodate our march, which will only occur for a portion of the first day of the convention and is planned to be outside of the credentialed zone. We’ve been flexible with the City, and all we hear are completely illegitimate excuses as to why they will not allow us to march on our route,” the Coalition said.

The group added that for many months Pere Marquette Park was presented by the City as a Free Speech Zone, since the location was considered safe. However, after the location was rejected by Republicans, the site was carved out and brought behind the credentialed zone for political and not security reasons.

MI Staff and Todd Richmond

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin

Lee Matz, Andy Manis (AP), and Jeffrey Phelps (AP)