NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Traditionally the grassy area across the street from the US Coast Guard Academy entrance is where people have been allowed to gather whether they want to protest or get a look at the presidential motorcade as it drives by on Rt. 32. Come next Wednesday, that area is expected to fill up fast.
“We’re gearing up for a larger number of people,” said Acting New London Police Chief Peter Reichard.
Wooden barriers have contained presidential protests in the past, but with more people expected next week New London police are using mutual aid to keep Trump protesters peaceful. They’ll also close nearby Riverside Park as usual.
“So we have officers coming from Waterford, from Norwich, from Stonington, and from East Lyme,” said Acting Chief Reichard.
Added enforcements outside the academy while inside President Trump addresses graduates and their families.
There’s also strict rules for those who gather.
“No signs on sticks are allowed. No wearing of face masks and any parcels that you have or any bags that you have are subject to search if you are in the area where the protesters area,” explained Acting Chief Reichard.
“The group that I’m putting together is a free speech and welcoming rally,” said conservative radio host Lori Hopkins-Cavanaugh. She was the first to pull a permit for nearby McKinley Park for a celebratory gathering.
“We can’t let the president come to our community without sort of speaking out,” said Frida Berrigan with the War Resisters League one of several groups which form the Coalition.
Those who travel in the area should also remember that if the president does fly into the Groton-New London Airport when he arrives at the academy which is usually around 11:00 A.M. and when he leaves which is closer to 1 P.M. all of the nearby roads including the highway will be closed to other traffic.