US state capitals on edge for armed protests


New York, Jan 16: US law enforce-ment officials are gearing up for pro-Trump marches in all 50 state capitals this weekend, erecting barriers and call-ing in their National Guards to try to prevent the kind of violent attack that rattled the nation January 6.

 The FBI has warned police agencies of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitals starting January 16 through President-elect Joe Biden’s in-auguration January 20, fuelled by sup-porters of President Donald Trump who believe his false claims of elec-

toral fraud. Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Washington are among the states that have activated their National Guards to strengthen security, while Texas took the step of closing its Capitol from 

Saturday through Inauguration Day. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement late Friday that intelligence indicated “violent extremists” may seek to exploit planned armed protests in Austin to “conduct criminal acts.

” The scramble follows the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol in Washington by a mbc of extremists and Trump supporters. Law enforcement officials have trained much of their focus Sunday, when the anti-govern-ment “boogaloo” movement has flagged plans to hold rallies in all 50 states.

 In Michigan, a fence was erected around the Capitol building in Lansing and troopers were mobilised from across the state to bolster security. The legis-lature nevertheless cancelled meetings next week, citing concern over credi-ble threats.

 “We are prepared for the worst but we remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate at our Capitol do so peacefully,” Michigan State Police Director Joe Gasper told a news con-ference Friday. The Joint Intelligence Bulletin further warned that “false nar-ratives” about electoral fraud would serve as an ongoing catalyst for ex-tremist groups. 

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