GOP debate protest plan - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

GOP debate protest plan

Cleveland prepared with protest plan during GOP debate (Source: WOIO) Cleveland prepared with protest plan during GOP debate (Source: WOIO)

Cleveland is preparing for a nationally televised GOP debate next Thursday on Fox News.

It’s a chance to show visitors and viewers everything Cleveland has to offer.

The city has new rules in place for protests in case they break out around the debate.

Meanwhile "Destination Cleveland" hopes tourists will get to see the best side of the city.

Teddy Ted loves street performing. We found him Friday right off of East 4th Street downtown.

He's looking forward to impressing the crowds outside next week's GOP debate.

"Oh yeah, they'll love it. That's my job, that's what I'm here to do, entertain, yeah," he said.

Any protests outside of Quicken Loans Arena during the debate won't slow down his dancing.

"I think it'll be a peaceful protest. Cleveland is on the up rise as far as entertainment-- casinos, condos-- becoming very lively," Ted said.

That's the side of Cleveland tourism officials hope visitors will see.

"I hope they reconsider the perception they have of Cleveland, they see that there are things going on here," said Jennifer Kramer with Destination Cleveland.

Behind the scenes, Cleveland Police say some areas will be secure and not accessible to the public.

We're told they have a plan to handle protests, but police would not release any details on it.

New rules approved by the city last week apply to demonstrations on public grounds like streets, parks and malls.

A city spokesman says anyone planning to protest off the sidewalks and on the streets needs a permit first. If not, they could get hit with a misdemeanor charge and a ticket.

A year ahead of the Republican National Convention, the GOP debate is just the start of the nation focusing on Cleveland.

From street performers to the visitor's bureau, many hope protests won't get in the way of Cleveland’s image to outsiders.

"The city is ready, and we're ready to show them a good time and roll out the red carpet," Kramer said.

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