The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday ruled that President Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, can go ahead amid concerns about the CCP virus, while Trump said that a city-implemented curfew was lifted.
“I just spoke to the highly respected Mayor of Tulsa, G.T. Bynum, who informed me there will be no curfew tonight or tomorrow for our many supporters attending the #MAGA Rally,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, Bynum wrote in an emergency order that a civil emergency was declared near the arena. He cited opposition protests and recent civil unrest for the move, referring to sometimes violent demonstrations initiated following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Bynum was also informed by law enforcement officials that “organized groups” were traveling to Tulsa “for the purposes of causing unrest in and around the rally.” These individuals “have been involved in destructive or violent behavior in other states,” he said.
“As posted earlier, the area illustrated in this map will need to be free of vehicles and pedestrian traffic,” the Tulsa Police Department also wrote. In a separate post on Facebook, police said that the area of downtown will be off-limits from 10 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
Following the order, Trump warned on Twitter Friday that “any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis … It will be a much different scene.”
The state’s Supreme Court rejected a request to require rally attendees to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing inside the Tulsa arena.
“Therefore, for lack of any mandatory language in the (plan), we are compelled to deny the relief requested,” the court wrote in an opinion, reported The Associated Press.
Following Tulsa mayor’s order, there were reports of people who were in line for the rally being forced out of the area by police.
According to Trump’s reelection campaign, more than 1,000,000 people have registered online for the Tulsa rally, which is first-come-first-served. The arena has a capacity of about 20,000.
The rally is the first one to be held by Trump since before the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. Supporters were required to sign a waiver releasing Trump’s campaign from responsibility for potential exposure to the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Authorities told AP in a separate article that 250 Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers were activated ahead of the rally to provide security.
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said the guardsmen will be used as a “force multiplier” to secure the BOK Center arena.