G.O.P. Asks Secret Service to Move Protesters Away From Convention Venue

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The Republican Party sent a letter to the Secret Service on Friday urging the police agency to keep protesters farther away from the venue for the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July.

The three-page letter, signed by Todd R. Steggerda, counsel to the Republican National Committee, objected to the placement of an area where protesters would be allowed to demonstrate. Mr. Steggerda argued that convention attendees would be forced to pass by the protesters on their way into the venue, raising the potential for confrontations.

“As recent college and university campus clashes make plain,” Mr. Steggerda wrote in the letter obtained by The New York Times, “forced proximity heightens tensions among peaceful attendees and demonstrators of differing ideologies and increases the risk of escalation to verbal, or even physical, clashes.”

Under the security plan proposed by the Secret Service, according to the letter, protesters will be confined to Pere Marquette Park, a small public park on the bank of the Milwaukee River about a quarter of a mile from Fiserv Forum — the arena that is home to the Milwaukee Bucks of the N.B.A. and that is hosting the convention. The letter adds that the two main routes to the arena designated by the Secret Service are adjacent to the park, which would force those heading to the convention to pass by it.

“Packing demonstrators into a park essentially boxed in by the two streets that thousands of attendees will be using to enter the convention site will only serve to heighten — rather than prevent and diffuse — any tension,” Mr. Steggerda wrote.

Alexi Worley, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, said in a statement that the agency “is not formally in receipt” of the letter, adding, “If a letter is received, the Secret Service will respond through appropriate channels.” The copy of the letter obtained by The Times was addressed to Kimberly A. Cheatle, the director of the Secret Service, “via hand delivery.”

Ms. Worley added that security plans for events like the Republican National Convention are “developed and approved through an executive steering committee made up of representatives from the Secret Service, as well as supporting federal, state and local agencies.”

The R.N.C. did not propose an alternative location for the demonstration zone in the letter, instead suggesting that the Secret Service expand the security perimeter to move protesters away from the area.



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