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Secret Service announces security perimeter for Republican National Convention

By Virginia Langmaid, CNN

(CNN) — The US Secret Service on Friday laid out the security measures for the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next month, including a perimeter that will prevent protesters from gathering at a large park near the venue.

Pere Marquette Park – which is a few blocks from the Fiserv Forum, where the convention will be held – now falls under the “hard” security perimeter, which will permit only credentialed attendees and volunteers and will not allow weapons inside, Audrey Gibson-Cicchino, US Secret Service RNC coordinator, said at a news conference.

The park had been the subject of security discussions between the Secret Service and the RNC as recently as last week, with a Donald Trump campaign adviser praising the proposed expansion of the hard perimeter to include the park, CNN previously reported.

The security plans include two stages on either side of the hard perimeter that will be reserved for protest speeches, said Nick DeSiato, chief of staff at the Milwaukee mayor’s office.

Friday’s announcement comes after a monthslong dispute between the Secret Service and the GOP over security measures around the convention, which will take place from July 15 to 18. The party had accused the agency of ignoring its concerns, while the Secret Service said Republicans were undermining efforts to keep the event safe.

In April, Republican National Committee counsel Todd Steggerda sent a letter asking the Secret Service to keep protesters farther back from the convention than what had been planned at the time. He wrote that the city’s proposal “creates an elevated and untenable safety risk to the attending public” and would place demonstrators in a one-block park that “will force thousands of peaceful attendees and demonstrators … to be in extremely close, consistent and unavoidable proximity.”

The RNC letter came during a peak in pro-Palestinian rallies at major universities across the US. The committee said in the letter that “recent college and university campus clashes” have shown that forced proximity causes heightened tensions and increases the risk of confrontations and law enforcement intervention.

US Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, responding to a question from CNN on Friday regarding recent comments from Trump ally Steve Bannon calling for “victory or death” this election year, said the remark, as well as “comments that are made across the board,” are considered but have not yet resulted in any changes to convention security.

“I don’t think that you’ll see that it’s had a great impact at this point; we’re still continuing forward with the plans as we’ve designed them,” Cheatle said.

CNN’s Alayna Treene and Shania Shelton contributed to this report.

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