UNITED STATES (The Washington Post/AP) – Numerous state capitols nationwide are locked down since yesterday, with windows boarded up, National Guard troops deployed, and states of emergency preemptively declared as authorities brace for a day of potential violence mimicking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.
The extraordinary show of security in capital cities and in D.C., where an unprecedented safety cordon continues to tighten, reflected the nation’s anxious state just days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Armed men and Trump supporters gathered at the Texas Capitol as law-enforcement officials closely watched their movements. In St. Paul, hundreds of officers surrounded the Minnesota Capitol, far outnumbering a group of about 50 pro-Trump protesters. A small number of demonstrators also gathered in Illinois and Nevada.
But most of the weekend’s protests were planned for Sunday. However, some far-right activists have urged people to stay home, claiming the events are a “setup” to frame supporters of President Trump for violence.
Without clear intelligence about who might show up for Sunday’s demonstrations, officials across the United States are bracing for a volatile mix of far-right, self-declared white supremacist, pro-gun and anti-government extremist groups. Experts say the threat from Trump-inspired extremism is likely to remain and grow.
In D.C., a man was arrested after a gun, and more than 500 rounds of ammo were discovered in his truck at a security checkpoint.
Right-wing groups on chat apps are swelling with new members after Parler disappeared, making it harder for law enforcement to track where the next attack could come from.
Streets near U.S. Capitol quiet and barricaded
So far, it is a quiet morning at the U.S. Capitol. Streets are empty, except for reporters around the area near Union Station in northeast Washington. Vehicles are stopped at H and North Capitol streets, and pedestrians could not access the Capitol grounds past Louisiana Avenue and D Street. Only reporters with Capitol credentials are allowed beyond the fence lining Louisiana Avenue. Concrete barriers blocked the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and D Street.
Yellow police tape closed off access to sidewalks. Office buildings just outside the Capitol grounds are boarded up, and a sign on a building housing the offices of NBC and Fox News is covered by black plastic. Military trucks and police cars are parked up North Capitol Street.
The United States and the world are waiting to see what will happen in the hours and days ahead when Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America.