CLEVELAND — There are still several months until the Republican National Convention, but the RNC is already bracing for thousands of protesters.
However, activists says plans now being put in place are violating their civil rights.
RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski tells ABC 6/FOX 28 that they're monitoring the campaign trails of their GOP candidates as protesters have been punched, disruptive, and kept front-runner Donald Trump from taking the stage in Chicago.
Those candidates are trying to make their way to the convention in Cleveland, a city where tensions are already brewing due to controversial police shootings that include the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
"There have been protests about the ongoing problems with the police use of force," co-coordinator of the National Lawyers Guild Jacqueline Greene told ABC 6/FOX 28. "It is a problem in Cleveland and that's why they're under federal oversight."
According to a bid made by Cleveland Police, the city is looking to buy 2,000 of protective riot gear, 2,000 collapsible police batons, bicycles, and horse trailers. Officers from neighboring departments will assist in the security, which will bring the number of officers around Quicken Loans Arena in July to 5,000.
"This militarized police presence chills people's first amendment expression," said Greene.
Greene says such militarized tactics will intimidate protesters, preventing their right to free speech.
And while Kukowski says there will be designated areas for the thousands of protesters in their security plans, Greene maintains such "free speech zones" are unconstitutional.