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Four-day lock down of mid-Manhattan?

Mike Miller, Director of Operations of the Republican National Convention, says, "Yes, it will be locked down."

Midtown Manhattan around the site of the Republican National Convention could be locked down for blocks, with major avenues closed and nearby residents and workers required to show identification, officials said Tuesday as they outlined tentative security plans for the four-day event.

Such plans could thwart at least one major demonstration at which anti-war protesters plan to march past convention headquarters at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 29, the day before the convention begins.

Mike Miller, the director of convention operations, told reporters at a briefing Tuesday that the Secret Service and city police would sweep the area and lock it down the Friday or Saturday before the gathering.

Nearly 20 groups have contacted the police department about permits that would allow them to march and rally outside Madison Square Garden and at other sites around the city.

But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says, "Not so fast!"

A day after a top Republican National Convention official said the area around Madison Square Garden might be locked down, Mayor Michael Bloomberg asserted Wednesday that he was in charge and assured the city there would be minimal disruption.

"The NYPD will carry out the instructions that I gave them and that's to make this a safe convention with as minimal disruptions as possible to the public," Bloomberg said. "This is going to be a convention where we will make it safe, but if you're in any area outside of the garment district, you probably won't even know that the convention is in town. The city is big. The city accommodates crowds and events all the time."

Hey! For once, I'm actually cheering Michael Bloomberg on!

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