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Cleveland, Philadelphia Increase Security for Political Conventions

The Republican Party is holding its national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Democratic Party will hold theirs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Republican Party is holding its national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Democratic Party will hold theirs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Cleveland, Philadelphia Increase Security
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The two main parties in the United States will officially nominate their presidential candidates at national political conventions later this month.

The Republican Party is holding its national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, from July 18 to July 21. The Republicans are expected to officially nominate businessman Donald Trump as their candidate.

The Democrats are preparing to meet at the end of the month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The party will officially nominate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as its candidate.

Millions of dollars are being spent on security for the two conventions. The cities of Philadelphia and Cleveland have each received $50 million to pay for security, according to multiple sources. The money was awarded in federal grants to keep the convention grounds and the areas around them safe.

Close to 50,000 people are expected to travel to Cleveland for the Republican convention. That number includes about 6,000 demonstrators.

Democratic and Republican protesters clashed at a number of Trump campaign events earlier this year. Police in Cleveland are preparing for the possibility of unrest.

The office of Cleveland’s mayor says the “size and significance of the convention creates unique challenges.” City officials have put special restrictions in place.

Cleveland plans to enforce rules designed to control demonstrations. The city will limit marches to 50 minutes. Most of the marches will be held in the morning before Republican delegates gather at the convention site. The planned parade route will send demonstrators in a direction away from the meeting area.

Dan Bulla is the president of a private security company. He thinks the biggest problems will be physical acts of civil disobedience. These acts include blocking streets, disabling police vehicles and trying to incite police action.

Bulla said there may be “more opportunity for disruption and violence” in Cleveland than at the Democratic National Convention.

Officials in Philadelphia will let supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to demonstrate in a park near the Democrats’ convention site. Sanders was Clinton’s main opponent in the race for the presidential nomination.

The U.S. Secret Service is heavily involved in planning political conventions. The agency has been working with local and federal law enforcement to prepare for the meetings in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Nicole Mainor works for the Secret Service. She told VOA: “If individuals or groups decide to act unlawfully, plans have been put in place to …address them. We understand the nature of [these events]. We have anticipated the number of individuals we may encounter.”

Law enforcement officials are also guarding against a possible terror attack or attacks on computers. Cyber-attacks are the “most significant” threat, said Bulla. Officials are working with computer experts to stop hackers’ attempts to cut off telephone service and electricity.

Bulla said the threat of a terrorist attack does not rate as high as threats of cyber-attacks and civil disobedience.

In a related development, a federal judge decided some of Cleveland’s rules for protesters were unconstitutional. The rules would have banned some objects from a 5.6-kilometer wide “event zone.” Those items include large backpacks, adhesive tape and string.

The rules would have also limited where demonstrators could speak.

Cleveland officials say they will appeal the ruling.

I'm Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.

Wayne Lee wrote this story for Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What do you think will be the biggest security problems at the political conventions? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

grant –​ n. public money that is given to someone or something for use on a project or for a particular purpose

civil disobediencen. refusal to obey laws as a way of forcing the government to do or change something

altercationsn. noisy or angry arguments

cyber-attackn. an attempt by a computer hacker to damage or destroy a computer network or system

disruptionn. an event that causes something to be unable to continue in the normal way

hackersn. people who secretly get access to a computer system in order to get information or cause damage