The FBI said it was received information that armed protesters are organizing to storm the state capitols of 50 US states, including the US Capitol in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden slated for January 20, CNN reports.
The information, which was passed on as an internal FBI bulletin, and sighted by news outlets, comes up as federal and state law enforcement agencies beef up security in the days leading to Inauguration Day. There are fears that the country may witness more attacks following the last week’s riot at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a police officer.
While efforts to track down suspects that participated in Wednesday’s attack is ongoing, law enforcement agents are convinced that the insurrection at the US Capitol was a glimpse of further chaos to come by supporters of President Donald Trump who believe his mandate was stolen.
According to the FBI, the armed protests are particularly planned from January 16 through January 20. The protests may become inevitable, especially if Trump is removed through the instrument of the 25th Amendment before his tenure elapses.
The FBI said it had received word on January 8 that a group was planning to storm all local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings if Trump was removed from office before he handed over to Biden on Inauguration Day. The group also had plans to make their presence felt in all government offices in every state across the US and the District of Columbia, no matter where the pendulum swings in the Electoral College vote certification by Congress.
There have been various threats issued to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, which the FBI said it was taking very seriously. There have also been threats sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NBC News writes.
There was a Continuity of Government Operations event held recently by the government. It is a standard practice carried out in case some group of individuals tries to disrupt the transition billed for Inauguration Day. A senior member of the administration said the interagency rehearsal was crucial to establish a chain of command if someone tries to stop the inauguration.
On Monday, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser urged citizens to avoid coming to the city to participate in the inauguration event to prevent a breakdown of law and order following the events that played out in the Capitol.
Bowser said she was particularly concerned about the nation’s democracy because the country consisted of extreme groups that were well-armed and had the ability to cause violence. On Monday, Bowser had requested that President Trump and the acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf approve an emergency declaration for the city.
However, events took a new twist when the DHS Secretary resigned on Monday. Before his resignation, Wolf announced that he had set up a National Special Security Event operation for the inauguration program. It was moved forward to January 13 instead of January 19 – the day before the inauguration.
Various police departments would be deploying officers to Washington for the event, including the New York Police Department and others from Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. The National Guard was also on standby.
The Michigan State Capitol Commission banned the open carry of firearms inside the state’s capitol building with immediate effect. This policy will only affect public places inside the building. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had called for a ban on all weapons after last week’s violence at the US Capitol.