A global technology firm is recommending that journalists covering the Republican National Convention wear military-grade body armor.
The recommendation from Global Journalist Security — found in an update following the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — advised the wearing of body armor by those covering events in the RNC's 1.7 square mile "event zone" in Cleveland.
The convention is beginning today, with a surprise visit expected from Donald Trump.
GJS, described on its website as a "forward-looking, technology-oriented hostile environments training and consulting firm" for news and nonprofit organizations, has security advisers at the convention, including some who are trained military personnel with medical training.
The firm expressed concern with safety in Cleveland.
Ohio is a conceal and carry state and many Republican leaders have expressed support for the decision to allow people to carry guns in the area around the Quicken Loans Arena.
GJS cautioned, "Sidearms including revolvers and semi-automatic, high-capacity pistols like Glocks may be carried beneath the clothing of a concealed-carry permit holders. Both sidearms and long guns including semi-automatic, high-powered rifles may be carried openly. Both concealed- and open-carry weapons will be permitted within the 1.7 square mile RNC 'Event Zone.' A number of groups from different political perspectives have already indicated they are planning armed demonstrations. The potential for tragic incidents or even armed clashes along with confusion by police and others about threats should not be underestimated."
The Cleveland Police Department is preparing for mass arrests. An announcement said the law enforcement can house more than 975 detainees at a time and local courts will be kept open 20 hours each day of the convention, with 12 judges working 10-hour shifts.
GJS encouraged journalists to "report to us or relevant press freedom groups incidents involving journalists' mistreatment, injuries or arrests. We will issue reports as needed on this information in addition to sharing information with press freedom groups."
Did you know?
Guns are allowed in the "event zone" at the Republican National Convention but rules state that gas masks are not allowed, neither are knives measuring more than 2 inches, large backpacks or ice coolers.