When President Trump visits Minnesota on Thursday, traffic snarls and crowds are expected in downtown Minneapolis where he will host a campaign rally at Target Center.
“Our strong advice is that if you don't have to be in those areas that day, don't. Just simply don't. Avoid the aggravation,” said Minneapolis police spokesperson Lt. John Elder.
Trump’s visit comes amid a struggle with Congress over impeachment proceedings that have sparked tension on all sides.
The campaign rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
If you’re in Minneapolis or plan to take part in any of the day’s events, here’s a rundown of what’s going to happen.
Road closures start at 8 p.m. Wednesday
They include the following:
Interstate 394 exit ramp to 6th Street North
1st Avenue North from 6th Street North to 8th Street North
HOV entrance ramp at 3rd Avenue North and 5th Street North
6th Street North from 1st Avenue North to 2nd Avenue North
2nd Avenue North from 5th Street North to 10th Street North
7th Street North from Hennepin Avenue to 10th Street North
Twins Way from 7th Street North to 10th Street North
On Thursday at 9 a.m., access to Ramps A and B will be restricted, according to the city.
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will travel in the Twin Cities metro by motorcade. Past presidential motorcades have temporarily closed interstates and other roads along the president’s path, as well as surrounding roads and overpasses.
Elder said the routes of the motorcades are not public information.
There’ll be a heavy police presence
In addition to Minneapolis officers, Elder said the department is working with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, University of Minnesota police, Metro Transit police and the State Patrol, as well as other local and federal law enforcement agencies.
Other major events like the Super Bowl and Final Four have given Minneapolis law enforcement experience handling large crowds, Elder said, adding that the high staff level is not intended to stop peaceful protests.
“It's really meant to protect and preserve the integrity of everybody there for whatever purpose they’re there for that’s law-abiding,” he said.
Target Center will be the center of activity
The venue didn’t say how many free tickets the Trump campaign had distributed for the event, but Target Center’s official capacity is listed as 19,356.
Jennifer Carnahan, chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, told WCCO TV that people hoping to secure a spot at the rally should show up well ahead of when doors open at 4 p.m.
“If people think showing up at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. hoping that they will get in, I think they will have a very difficult time,” she said. “We always encourage people to go as early as possible, maybe 9 a.m. or 10 in the morning.”
Protests are planned
Facebook event pages of anti-Trump protest organizers have tens of thousands of RSVPs. But it’s difficult to know for sure how many will show up.
“We will obviously be working with those to ensure that their First Amendment rights are respected while still providing a safe atmosphere for everyone that's in the area,” Elder said.
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