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With protests expected, here are Miami's security plans for Trump's arraignment

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Authorities in Miami say they are prepared for possible protests tomorrow outside the city's federal courthouse. Former President Trump will appear in court to face 37 counts related to his mishandling of classified government documents. In an interview with Republican activist Roger Stone on Sunday, Trump encouraged his supporters to turn out.

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DONALD TRUMP: And we need strength at this point. And everyone's afraid to do anything. They're afraid to talk. And they have to go out, and they have to protest peacefully.

CHANG: NPR's Greg Allen joins us now to talk about the security preparations in Miami. Hi, Greg.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

CHANG: OK, so what are local officials saying about how they're getting ready for tomorrow?

ALLEN: Well, we heard from Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and police Chief Manny Morales today in a briefing. They provided relatively few details. Morales said his officers are prepared to handle anywhere between 5,000 and as many as 50,000 protesters.

CHANG: Wow.

ALLEN: He said there are - working closely with federal and state law enforcement authorities. They're all setting up a unified command post to oversee security outside the courthouse. But Morales was deliberately vague on his plans and even on basic questions such as whether they will have barricades to use or create separate zones for protesters who are for and against the indictments. And - but he said he was confident that Miami police already.

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MANUEL MORALES: Make no mistake about it - we're taking this event extremely serious. We know that there is a potential of things taking a turn for the worst. But that's not the Miami way.

CHANG: Wait, what does he mean by that? What's the Miami way?

ALLEN: Yeah, I - well, I think Morales and Mayor Suarez both said that that means that the city - they use that to mean that the city is experienced in handling protests. They both talked about how the city handled protests in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. And as for tomorrow, Morales says he expected protesters would be respectful of police. And he said his officers have experience using crowd control tactics that allow people to exercise their constitutional rights while at the same time avoiding violence.

CHANG: OK. That said, I mean, elsewhere on this show, we talked about the inflammatory posts on social media by some Trump supporters, some of whom have called for violence. I have to imagine that that's also of concern to Miami leaders, right?

ALLEN: Well, one would think so. Chief Morales said he's taking it all seriously. But he says he's aware of the social media posts, and he hasn't seen any that he believes are credible enough to cause him real concern. Mayor - Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was reminded about the last time that Donald Trump called on his supporters to turn out in protest on January 6 after he was defeated in his reelection. And he was - Suarez was asked if he - if he'd thought about calling the former president to ask him to calm the situation.

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FRANCIS SUAREZ: I have not spoken to him. I don't have his phone number. But I will tell you that during the George Floyd protest, there were tens of thousands or thousands of people on our streets in Miami. We were prepared. I think we were a model for how to deal with those protests.

ALLEN: Suarez says there were no - there was no serious violence and relatively few arrests out of those protests. He's hoping this will be a repeat of that. On a side note, I should point out that Mayor Suarez is a Republican and is considering jumping into the presidential race himself.

CHANG: OK. Well, real briefly, what else can you tell us about timing for tomorrow?

ALLEN: Well, there are various calls for protests circulating on social media, some beginning as early as 10 a.m. outside the federal courthouse. A small group of supporters of Donald Trump were on-hand outside his Doral Golf Club today, where he's staying tonight. Trump is scheduled before a magistrate judge at 3 and then make a statement tomorrow night after he flies back to his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey.

CHANG: All right. That is NPR's Greg Allen in Miami. Thank you, Greg.

ALLEN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.