donald trump.jpg
Photograph: EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Republicans are seeking to reintroduce presidential candidate Donald Trump to voters across the United States, as the conservative party kicked off its convention Monday.

Chairman Reince Preibus called the Republican National Convention into session as delegates from across the United States prepare to nominate Trump for the November general elections.

Thousands of convention goers have descended on Cleveland, Ohio, for the four-day convention, where the party's 2,472 delegates are to officially put forward the presidential nominee. The winner needs 1,237 delegates, and Trump cleared that hurdle in May.

"The plan for the Trump campaign for this convention is to help the American people understand more about Donald Trump the man, not just the candidate they've seen on the campaign trail," campaign manager Paul Manafort said.

The event is taking place against the backdrop of a wave of police shootings, including Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, increasing security concerns.

While security is tight within a broad security zone surrounding the convention arena, thousands of protesters gathered outside the perimeter, raising concerns about Ohio laws that allow people to openly carry guns in public places.

Police groups have called for the law to be temporarily suspended in Cleveland. Ohio Governor John Kasich has said that is legally impossible.

Each evening, members of Trump's family will give major speeches aimed at humanizing Trump, with his current wife, Melania Trump, as the main speaker Monday night.

The rest of the convention will feature approval of the party's issue platform and speeches by celebrities, party loyalists and other candidates, including Trump's vice presidential pick. Trump is to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday.

Events began Monday at 1 pm (1700 GMT) as delegates were to approve the rules for the proceedings and a party platform that bears the distinct mark of Trump, backing away from the Republicans' strong support for free trade and calling for the construction of a wall along the US-Mexican border.

The traditionally staid business proceedings saw early fireworks as a small group of Republicans opposed to Trump's candidacy was taking steps to disrupt the proceedings and call for delegates to pick an alternate candidate.

The Trump campaign has dismissed the push, and chose vice presidential candidate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, to seek party unity with more traditional Republicans.

"Of course he's going to win: This is a Trump convention," Manafort said. "This party is united."

The theme of Monday evening's speeches is Make America Safe Again, with a focus on terrorism, crime and immigration. Several speakers have ties to the four US citizens killed in the attack on a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, and are expected to attack Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

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