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After days of controversy over Trump’s choice to hold his first rally since the coronavirus lockdowns in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was changed to July 20.

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court is expected to rule Friday whether those attending Saturday’s campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa must adhere to federal guidelines for face masks and social distancing.

A court referee heard arguments over the phone Thursday and will make a recommendation to the justices, who are scheduled to discuss the case Friday afternoon. The referee is not expected to disclose his recommendation.

A Tulsa attorney filed a lawsuit this week to stop BOK Center management from hosting the rally “to protect against a substantial, imminent and deadly risk to the community.”

The petition cites a rise in documented cases of COVID-19 in Tulsa County and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More: Health experts fear Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa could turn into a coronavirus ‘super spreader’ event

“All credible, qualified medical experts, including the CDC, agree that this type of mass-gathering indoor event creates the greatest possible risk of community-wide viral transmission,” the petition states.

Oklahoma set a new state record for case increases in a single day on Thursday, confirming 450 new cases.

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has said that people concerned about the spread of COVID-19 at the rally should stay home.

Tim Willert, The Oklahoman

Curfew imposed ahead of rally

The mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, imposed a curfew ahead of President Donald Trump’s campaign rally there, prompting officers to move out supporters who had been camping out in front of the arena.

Mayor G. T. Bynum announced the order Thursday evening, citing the expected crowds of more than 100,000, the planned protests and the civil unrest that has already erupted in the city and around the nation this month.

Bynum also said he’s received information from the Tulsa Police Department and other law enforcement agencies “that shows that individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive or violent behavior in other states are planning to travel to the City of Tulsa for purposes of causing unrest in and around the rally.”

Bynum said the order is needed to protect health and safety and preserve lives and property.

The curfew of parts of the city’s downtown started at 10 p.m. Thursday and is in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday. It begins again at the conclusion of Trump’s rally and continues into Sunday morning.

“Big crowds and lines already forming in Tulsa,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, hours after the curfew went into effect.

Big crowds and lines already forming in Tulsa. My campaign hasn’t started yet. It starts on Saturday night in Oklahoma!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2020

He also issued  this warning: “Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!”

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Trump supporters began lining up outside the BOK Center days in advance of the rally. 

“Sacrificing a week of our lives is nothing for what Trump has done for us,” Robin Stites, who arrived on Monday to secure the No. 2 place in line, told the The Oklahoman earlier this week.

In a Facebook post Thursday evening, the Tulsa Police Department said anyone in violation of the mayor’s executive order will be asked to leave the area. Those who refuse may be cited or arrested.

In addition to the curfew, the order bans Molotov cocktails or other combustible devices.

“This is an unprecedented event for the City of Tulsa and has hundreds of moving parts,” the post said. “We are asking for everyone’s help in making this a safe event for all citizens.”

More: Health experts fear Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa could turn into a coronavirus ‘super spreader’ event

More: Oklahoma coronavirus cases surge, hospitalizations rise ahead of Trump’s Tulsa rally

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