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Trump Supporters Gather in Oklahoma for Large Rally

Tens of thousands of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are converging Saturday on Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Trump will hold his first large-scale rally since the coronavirus shutdown and nationwide protests of police brutality.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request to require everyone attending the rally to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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A supporter of US President Donald Trump chants 'USA' on June 19, 2020, while waiting for the next day's rally with the president in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The state court ruled that several local residents who made the request did not have a clear legal right to seek such a mandate.

A woman walks with a sidearm while waiting for tomorrow's rally with US President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 19,…

A woman walks with a sidearm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 19, 2020, while waiting for the following days's rally with US President Donald Trump.

The Trump campaign has said organizers would provide masks and hand sanitizer to all who want them at the rally. Organizers will also be checking the temperature of all attendees to guard against the spread of the virus. The campaign says it is taking “safety seriously” as some health experts have warned that the large gathering could promote the spread of the disease.

The managers of the Bank of Oklahoma Center, the indoor multipurpose arena in Tulsa where the rally will take place, have asked the president’s campaign for a written health and safety plan. BOK Center officials said they requested the plan because Tulsa has experienced a recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

The arena has seats for 19,000 people, and the Trump campaign says more than a million people have sought tickets.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says crowds of 100,000 people or more are expected in the area.

Tulsa city workers erected a high metal fence Friday to barricade the rally site.

Bynum initially ordered a curfew for the area around the arena because of the unrest that followed some recent protests of police brutality across the country. He later rescinded the order after Trump tweeted Friday that he spoke with the mayor and there would not be a curfew.

The mayor’s office originally said the curfew would remain in effect from 10 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday and would again be in force on Saturday night.

Bynum had said in the curfew order, “I have received information from the Tulsa Police Department and other law enforcement agencies that shows 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.” Bynum did not identify which groups he was referring to.

Trump tweeted on Friday, “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!"

A White House spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, said Trump was referring to violent protesters, not peaceful ones.

Nationwide protests erupted last month after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota. Floyd, who was African American, died after a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Tulsa rally was originally scheduled for Friday but was pushed back a day after criticism that it fell on Juneteenth, the date that marks the end of slavery in the United States, and takes place in a city that has a history of racial tension. Tulsa was the scene of attacks by a white mob in 1921 that left several hundred African Americans dead.