The city of Tulsa announced a last-minute curfew that began Thursday night and will continue Friday and Saturday, restricting people from a large area surrounding the arena where President Trump will hold his first campaign rally in months.
An executive order signed by Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) says the curfew, which begins at 10 p.m. and lifts at 6 a.m. all three nights, is intended to quell potential overnight violence as thousands intend to pour into the city to protest the president’s visit.
It’s unclear whether the Trump supporters who have camped out for days to secure a prime spot to see the president on Saturday will be cleared out as well, but some videos posted on social media appeared to show people leaving the area carrying tents and lawn chairs.
Bynum declared a “civil emergency” after law enforcement informed the mayor that “individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive and violent behavior in other states are planning to travel to the City of Tulsa for purposes of causing unrest in and around the rally,” the order reads.
People who refuse to leave the area risk arrest, the Tulsa Police Department warned on Twitter.
“This is an unprecedented event for the City of Tulsa and has hundreds of moving parts, we are asking for everyone’s help in making this a safe event for all citizens,” the department tweeted.
Trump tweeted what sounded like an ominous warning to people planning to protest his visit.
“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 president wrote.
Trump has been critical of how some Democratic mayors have handled protests in their cities. Tulsa’s mayor is a Republican.
Trump’s rally, his first since the coronavirus crisis shut down public gatherings, has angered some residents who worry the event could cause a large scale outbreak. They have sued the venue manager, demanding that the arena adhere to social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or be canceled.
The venue managers have asked the Trump campaign for a detailed plan of the safety measures it will take to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus. The campaign intends to supply rallygoers with masks and hand sanitizer but will not require attendees to wear them and will not keep attendees six feet apart or require social distancing.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankord, who plans to attend the rally, told “CBS This Morning” that he intends to wear a mask “most of the time.”
“I assume that I’m going to have it on a lot of the time,” he said. But he added that when out in public, he doesn’t see many Oklahomans wearing masks.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale was noncommittal on the subject, telling Fox News in an interview Friday that he “probably will be wearing a mask” at the event.
The rally venue, the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, holds 19,000 people. The Trump campaign says it has received 1 million requests for tickets.