State capitols across the US have been reinforced against a possible wave of pro-Trump armed protests, after the FBI warned of “armed groups” preparing to descend on them. The situation on the ground tells a different story.
The Capitol Hill riot, which saw an unruly group of pro-Trump protesters run amuck in the US Capitol earlier this month, has prompted politicians to warn of an undercurrent of right-wing “extremism” and “domestic terrorism” across the country. As journalists and liberal pundits openly talk of the need to “cleanse” the nation of “Trumpism,” Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday will take place in a locked-down Washington, DC, behind unprecedented security, including 20,000 National Guardsmen.
With Trump excommunicated from the internet, his supporters who stormed the Capitol facing draconian sentences, and the National Guard itself being combed for potential Trump loyalists, the FBI warned state-level government that “armed groups” of Trump supporters are readying an “uprising” on legislatures in all 50 states, beginning this weekend.
Statehouses across the country upped their security, as anti-extremism “experts”amped up the threat to the media. Yet by Sunday afternoon, it became clear that either the FBI and the media overstated the threat, or the Trump army was standing back and keeping its powder dry.
Armed protesters did show up outside the Ohio state house in Columbus, but they were outnumbered by police officers. A large contingent of the group appeared to be associated with the ‘Boogaloo’ movement, and told reporters that they were not there on behalf of Donald Trump, but for “individual liberty for all.”
“We are out here supporting the local BLM scene” says one of the Boogaloo Boys before marching towards the Ohio Statehouse building to protest pic.twitter.com/i7KQ3HohqD
— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) January 17, 2021
Similar scenes were reported in Oregon and in Michigan, where around two dozen protesters had assembled at the capitol in Lansing by noon. No violence was reported, and they left an hour later.
Some of the people who showed up today at the capitol have now left. Peaceful all day. Police and media remain. Snow is coming down a bit heavier. It’s looks like it wrapping up in Lansing. pic.twitter.com/14Umh9h8Sr
— Elisha Anderson (@elishaanderson) January 17, 2021
In Georgia, only two armed protesters showed up at the capitol in Atlanta, while no demonstrators at all had showed up to most of the nation’s statehouses by mid-afternoon. In Florida, the FBI arrested one self-described “hardcore leftist” on Friday, for allegedly attempting to recruit comrades to attack a pro-Trump protest in Tallahassee on Sunday. However, even if he hadn’t been arrested, he would have had no targets, as no protest materialized.
Heavy police presence around Alabama Capitol Sunday because of rumors of protests in all 50 states. As of 12:30 PM, absolutely nothing was happening except a jogger who came by and asked if there was a parade. pic.twitter.com/roc790RA9T
— Kim Chandler (@StatehouseKim) January 17, 2021
President Trump has repeatedly called on his supporters to avoid violence, a call they appear to have heeded since the Capitol Hill riot. However, even if Biden’s inauguration passes peacefully, security at US legislatures could remain heightened for the foreseeable future. In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week that security fencing and troop deployments around the US Capitol could be the “new normal” long after Inauguration Day.
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