Jeramey Jannene

RNC Poised To Use Loophole To Force Protest Zone Relocation

Pere Marquette Park would become part of RNC "hard zone" instead of just outside of it.

By - Jun 14th, 2024 11:20 am
Pere Marquette Park in 2020. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Pere Marquette Park in 2020. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Republic National Committee appears poised to use a pathway suggested by the Secret Service to force the relocation of a demonstration space further away from Fiserv Forum and the Republican National Convention.

For more than a month, the political party has maintained the claim that having groups using scheduled slots in Pere Marquette Park posed an “untenable risk” and would create a conflict point as many convention attendees would need to pass the park to access a checkpoint into the “hard zone” security perimeter run by the Secret Service. The city, which is in charge of designating a First Amendment space and parade route, has said is it pursuing a space within “sight and sound” of the convention as is required in the host agreement.

During a press briefing last week, Secret Service officials suggested there was an option to force the protest space to move.

“The current design of what the RNC is going to use, that’s what we base our perimeter on,” said Secret Service chief of communications Anthony Guglielmi on June 6. “These things change. The RNC might want to expand their perimeter. ”

The RNC is now doing just that. The organization is booking events in Pere Marquette Park, 950 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. It has submitted permit requests to Milwaukee County Parks to use Pere Marquette Park during the convention. The Milwaukee County Historical Society, located in a former bank on the edge of the park, is also being booked. Alison Dirr was the first to report the change.

“It is less likely that Pere Marquette Park will be used [as a demonstration area],” mayoral spokesperson Jeff Fleming told Urban Milwaukee. “The city is looking at other alternatives.”

But Fleming said the primary driver was the concerns of business owners near the park.

As Urban Milwaukee reported Monday, the potential use of Pere Marquette Park as a demonstration area and the fact that state law prevents the city from prohibiting guns led several nearby business owners to call for the demonstration zone to be relocated, potentially several blocks west to MacArthur Square. That park is a similar distance from Fiserv Forum, but faces the back of the arena and the elevated structure it sits atop disconnects it from the street grid.

Fleming said the city continues to pursue a location that is within “sight and sound” of the convention.

The city, meanwhile, is being sued in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin on behalf of the Coalition to March on the RNC. Mediation for a possible settlement is scheduled to occur Monday, but coalition members have pledged that they intend to march whether or not they receive a permit.

The Republican National Committee has suggested relocating the demonstration zone south to Zeidler Union Square, more than a quarter mile further and beyond sight and sound of Fiserv Forum.

The national committee submitted permit requests for Pere Marquette on May 10 and June 6 to use the space.

Expanding the “hard zone” to encompass the riverfront park could force the “soft zone,” where vehicle restrictions would be in effect and certain items would be prohibited, to be expanded. The zone, according to a February presentation by Mayor Cavalier Johnson, was previously to terminate just across the river on N. Water Street.

According to a timeline given June 6 by Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, a more detailed security plan is to be released next week. A city spokesperson said the city would release the demonstration zone and permitted parade route at the same time or shortly thereafter.

The 2024 Republican National Convention is scheduled for July 15-18 and is expected to draw 50,000 visitors to the city.

Sample Map

Existing members must be signed in to see the interactive map. Sign in.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Categories: Politics

6 thoughts on “RNC Poised To Use Loophole To Force Protest Zone Relocation”

  1. says:

    What are these MAGA-brain morons afraid of? THEY are the rioters (see 01/06/2021). And they’ll be armed…..

  2. Colin says:

    Loophole… Every GOP member’s middle name.

  3. SiddyMonty says:

    The guns thing is so frightening.

  4. Counselor of Peace Joel Paplham says:

    Wealthy Republicans should rent out every location for convention within three mile radius of convention center. Safety first for residents living / working and attending school from those paid agitator coming into are beautiful city to cause chaos. Nobody was paid to enter the Capitol January 6. Nobody used the American Civil Liberties Union to use First Amendment rights to express freedom of speech. Nobody intended purpose was to over throw the United States government.

  5. Colin says:

    Paid agitators are a made-up right wing talking point. Can’t believe people still believe that crap.

  6. Counselor of Peace Joel Paplham says:

    Fake love from the Left. TRUMP FORCE 47 will drive out the autocracy destroying democracy.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us