States declare emergencies, close capitols ahead of rallies

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Responding to warnings of potentially violent protests, governors across the country are calling on National Guard troops, declaring a state of emergency and closing their capitals to the public ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

While details remain unclear, protests are expected in state capitals from Sunday and until Biden’s succession to President Donald Trump on Wednesday. State officials hope to avoid the type of violence that occurred on January 6, when a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, leaving a Capitol Police officer and four others dead.

The FBI has warned of the potential for violence in all state capitals and said it is tracing “a considerable amount of worrying online gossip,” including calls for armed protests.

Governors across the country are sending thousands of National Guard soldiers to Washington, DC, where the National Mall has been closed to the general public as part of an intense security effort. More than a dozen governors have also called on the Guard to protect their own state capitals and assist local law enforcement.

“We are prepared for the worst, but we remain hopeful that those who choose to protest at our Capitol do so peacefully, without violence or destruction of property,” Michigan State Police Col. Joe said on Friday. Gasper, as announced by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. the role of the guard.

Teams put up a six-foot fence around the Michigan Capitol ahead of the expected protests, and ground-level windows have been boarded up in a nearby building that houses the governor’s office. Gasper said an increased state police presence would remain at headquarters at least until mid-February.

Some windows have also been posted in capitals of Wisconsin and Illinois, both of which have activated the National Guard to help with security. Although the Wisconsin Capitol is already closed to the public due to the coronavirus, the administration of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has told those who come to the Capitol to work remotely for the rest of the month.

Law enforcement reduced parking around the Capitol building in Madison over the weekend and urged people to avoid the area as they brace for potential unrest. There was only one known organized event for the day, an anti-fascist protest where free food, drinks and clothing were to be distributed.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is mobilizing up to 1,000 National Guard members over civil unrest. State officials erected a chain link fence around the Capitol on Thursday, strengthening other temporary and permanent barriers. The California Highway Patrol refuses to issue permits for gatherings on Capitol Hill.

“We are taking this very seriously and deploying significant resources to protect public safety, critical infrastructure and First Amendment rights,” Newsom said in a video message. “But let me be clear: there will be no tolerance for violence.”

Other governors were encouraging people to stay away from the Capitol buildings for the next few days. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, closed the Capitol until after Biden’s inauguration and activated hundreds of National Guard members.

Citing the possibility of armed protests, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly began a week-long restriction on public access to the Capitol on Friday. Only those who have business with the Legislative Assembly or the Governor’s office will be permitted entry, and they will be required to provide an email stating that they have a meeting or testify before a Legislative Committee.

Kelly and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf closed their …

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