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State Capitols Placed on Alert amid Rioting Threats

Members of the National Guard arrive to the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 11, 2021. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

State capitols across the U.S. have been placed on alert ahead of potential armed demonstrations, following a riot at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., incited by President Trump.

The pro-Trump rioters overwhelmed police and breached the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to evacuate and injuring dozens of officers. One officer and one rioter were killed. On Sunday, the FBI warned in an internal memo that riots could spread to state capitols, the Associated Press reported.

“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the memo read.

National Guard and other law enforcement have been called up to provide security at state capitols throughout the country, The New York Times reported. California governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that law enforcement would be deployed as needed to protect the state capitol in Sacramento; police stood guard outside the Georgia State Capitol at the legislature’s opening session; and the Michigan statehouse also increased its police presence.

In Madison, Wis., workers covered ground-floor windows of the state capitol with sheets of plywood. Meanwhile, Texas state representative Briscoe Cain claimed that that state’s legislature was protected because numerous lawmakers carry firearms.

“I have a pistol on my hip as we speak,” Cain told the Times on Monday. “I hope they’re never necessary, but I think it’s why they will never be necessary.”

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, head of the National Guard, said the organization was prepared to lend support wherever needed.

“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested,” Hokanson told reporters.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.