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Tulsa Drops Curfew as Court Allows Rally

Under Oklahoma guidelines, ruling says, social distancing is up to businesses
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2020 5:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump's planned rally in Tulsa got the go-ahead Friday from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which rejected a lawsuit that could have canceled the event. The city then called off a three-day curfew, causing confusion among police, after Trump tweeted that he'd spoken to Tulsa's mayor. Trump had issued a warning to potential protesters earlier in the day; thousands of supporters and opponents of the president are flooding into the city before the event Saturday, the Washington Post reports. Mayor G.T. Bynum had declared a civil emergency and had the area around the arena cleared Thursday night, saying law enforcement officials expected violence. Trump posted that the curfew had been repealed after he spoke with Bynum. "Thank you to Mayor Bynum!" he wrote.

Tulsa residents and businesses had filed suit to postpone the indoor rally unless the arena agrees to impose enforce social distancing guideline, per the New York Times. The group's lawyer told the court that allowing the event to proceed at a time when coronavirus cases are climbing in Tulsa would be "madness." But the court ruled that under Oklahoma's reopening guidelines, social distancing is at the discretion of business owners. Face masks are not required at the rally, though the campaign said it will check the temperature of those entering the arena. "The city is under siege," a photojournalist near the arena said. Convenience stores already are boarded up, he said, and National Guard troops had arrived. The rally is scheduled for 8pm EDT, per CBS. (Read more Tulsa stories.)

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