Michigan Police Brace For Potential State Capitol Riots

TOPSHOT - Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protest for... TOPSHOT - Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protest for the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 30, 2020. - The group is upset with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mandatory closure to curtail Covid-19. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 15, 2021 12:10 p.m.

Police in Michigan will be working with the state’s National Guard and the FBI to bolster security and beef up its show of force around the state’s capitol over the weekend, amid threats of potential violence at the capitol building on Sunday, according to a department statement. 

The heightened visibility of law enforcement comes as federal authorities sound the alarm over anticipated demonstrations at capitols in all 50 states, and urge local law enforcement to report threats of violence from extremists like those seen storming the U.S. Capitol last week in President Trump’s name. 

Michigan State Police Chief Joe Gasper said in a statement on Friday that law enforcement would be “prepared to ensure law and order” in advance of the demonstrations.

The police statement comes as Michigan Gov. Gtetchen Whitmer (D) said on Monday that a decision by the state’s capitol commission to ban the open carry of firearms in the state’s Capitol building had not gone far enough.

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The threats of violence in the swing state, which was embroiled in Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss, also follows a foiled alleged plot to kidnap the state’s Democratic governor last year, after Trump attacked Whitmer’s efforts to increase safety measures in her state amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Michigan authorities said the increased presence of uniformed officers, some of whom were deployed to posts as early as Monday, was a response to reports that “an unknown number of demonstrators” would gather on the state’s Capitol grounds on Sunday, just three days before Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as the nation’s 46th president.  

“We remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate do so peacefully, without violence or destruction of property,” Gasper said.

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