MANCHESTER — President Donald Trump’s campaign rally Thursday could snarl traffic in the city.
“We’re going to ask the public to be patient with us,” said Ryan Grant, assistant chief of the Manchester Police Department.
Streets around the Southern New Hampshire University Arena will be closed to cars, and some will be closed to foot traffic, Grant said. Some roads from the airport will be closed as well.
Nina McLaughlin, a Trump campaign spokesman, said she expects the arena to fill up. Anyone hoping for a good seat will come early, she said.
“If other states are any indication, people will probably be lining up the night before the doors open,” McLaughlin said.
Manchester police will patrol the arena and the surrounding area during the rally.
“Our main goal here is to make sure this event goes safely for everyone,” Grant said. He said city police would not escort out any protesters or hecklers in the arena if they are not breaking the law.
“Everybody has a right to be heard,” Grant said. “Short of committing a crime, our police won’t take action.”
Grant said he was not yet sure how many officers would be needed at the rally, or how much the event will cost the city in detail and overtime pay.
The city will pay for the additional police expense, Grant said.
If the Secret Service asks for help from local police, Grant said the department does not send out a bill. “We don’t bill to assist with security for a sitting President. We never have,” he said.
However, Grant said, the police department might bill presidential candidates for extra security around their events.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig was not invited to the rally, according to her chief of staff, Ryan Mahoney, but the mayor’s office is working with city police and fire departments to get ready for the rally. Mahoney said the campaign had not contacted the mayor’s office at all.
In an email, Craig said she hoped Trump would use his visit to Manchester to talk about issues like the opioid epidemic, infrastructure, housing and education.
“While in Manchester, I hope that the President takes the opportunity to demonstrate how he can be a collaborative partner and work with us to address challenges we all face instead of focusing on issues that continue to divide us,” Craig wrote.