Thu, 25 Feb 2021

Washington [US], January 14 (ANI): US state legislatures and law enforcement officials are boosting security arrangements at capitol complexes around the country following the violent insurrection last week as well as in the wake of warnings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of armed protests in the upcoming days.

According to The Hill, legislators say that they are increasingly anxious about the armed protests, which began last year in response to lockdowns imposed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic and are mounting over President Donald Trump's false allegations about election impropriety.

"Public safety is our first job, and we cannot allow incidents to develop where public safety is threatened, and that includes our staff... It's really heartbreaking to see this and yet we have to go forward with the business of government," said Karen Keiser, president pro tempore of the Washington state Senate.

"We must have had at least several hundred, I don't know the exact number, law enforcement officers, mostly from the Washington State Patrol... I feel very safe," said state Senator John Braun, the Republican minority leader.

Montana's Capitol complex increased the number of law enforcement officers stationed around the legislature and the governor's office, while Wyoming Highway Patrol said it would add officers around the Capitol in Cheyenne.

The Hill reported that Texas lawmakers had opened their session on Tuesday under the watch of a substantially larger number of troops from the Department of Public Safety than usual as a small group of armed protesters gathered outside.

Mississippi law enforcement has been preparing safety precautions ahead of expected protests next week in Jackson.

"I strongly support anyone's right to peacefully protest... But I want everyone to understand, in Mississippi, we are prepared and we will be prepared," said Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves.

Florida legislative leaders have told staff and even members to avoid the Capitol in Tallahassee in the coming days. In a letter, state Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) asked staff to work from home rather than traveling to the Capitol Complex.

Meanwhile, heavily armed demonstrators gathered at Kentucky's state Capitol in Frankfort, where they rallied against Governor Andy Beshear as well as Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

The tension in legislatures was compounded on Sunday when the FBI warned state law enforcement officials of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitols and in Washington over the coming week. At least 20,000 National Guard troops will be in Washington for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, The Hill reported.

On January 6, a group of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol to protest legislators confirming electoral slates from battleground US states they thought were invalid.

Trump had made a speech among thousands of supporters reiterating his claim a massive voter fraud had robbed his election victory and encouraged supporters to maintain support to "stop the steal."Five people died in the riot, including one police officer as well as one Air Force veteran and Trump supporter who was shot dead by police. (ANI)

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