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As Trump Overbooks Flynn, Burlington Police Prepare For Crowds

Jim Cole
The Trump campaign told the Burlington Police Department that it has issued "nearly 20,000" tickets for its Thursday event at the Flynn Center. The theater holds about 1,400 people.

Burlington Police say demand for tickets to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Burlington event far exceeds the space available in the Flynn Theater, where Trump is scheduled to speak.

Burlington police said in a statement that the Trump campaign informed the department that it has issued “nearly 20,000” tickets to the event, with at least 6,500 ticket-holders having “confirmed a desire to attend using a valid, verifiable email address.”

The Flynn theater will hold about 1,400 people, police said, and once that space is filled officials will turn people away.

“There will be no late seating,” the statement said.

Flynn Center Executive Director John Killacky said Monday that his organization has no control over ticketing for the event. Killacky said the Trump campaign is in control of the supply of the free tickets being provided through Eventbrite.

The Burlington Police statement suggested the Trump campaign’s overbooking could be a political move.

“It is common for event planners to over-issue tickets to political rallies to compensate for efforts by a candidate’s detractors to reserve seats and then leave them empty,” it said.

As a result of Trump’s event, street closures and the numerous protests planned to coincide with Trump’s visit, police say the city will be difficult to travel through Thursday afternoon and advise anyone traveling in Burlington to walk, bike or use public transportation.

Police also sought to preempt any efforts to stifle movement or political expression.

“We reserve the prerogative to enforce the law in cases where expression or free movement throughout the city is unreasonably stifled through intimidation, force, obstruction, destruction of property, etc., or any other unlawful act,” the statement said. “This especially applies to obstructing vehicular and pedestrian traffic with this intention and applies to all persons regardless of their political beliefs or affiliations.”

Also Wednesday, Burlington police announced that some streets, sidewalks and parking areas near Flynn Theater will be closed Thursday afternoon.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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