FBI Warns ‘Armed Protests’ May Occur At All 50 State Capitols & D.C. Before Biden Inauguration
The FBI has recently received information indicating that “armed protests” are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden‘s inauguration on January 20.
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are preparing for possible violence leading up to Inauguration Day, especially after the Capitol riot last week, leaving six people dead so far, including a Capitol Police officer.
As federal investigators continue to track down suspects from last week’s attack, the bulletin highlights concerns that the U.S. Capitol riot was just the beginning of the potentially violent action from supporters of President Donald Trump.
“On 8 January, the FBI recover information on an identified group calling for others to join them in ‘storming’ state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as President prior to Inauguration Day,” the bulletin states.
“This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on 20 January.”
The FBI is also tracking reports of “various threats to harm President-elect Joe Biden ahead of the presidential inauguration,” the bulletin states. “Additional reports indicate threats against VP-Elect Harris and Speaker Pelosi.”
In a separate statement, the FBI said that its “efforts are focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity,” and that its “focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and the destruction of property.”
The government held Continuity of Government Operations, a standard practice in the event that someone tries to disrupt the transition that took on new urgency in light of threats surrounding this year’s inauguration.
The goal of the interagency rehearsal was to ensure a seamless chain of command in the event of a national emergency in the days leading up to the inauguration and on the day itself. The rehearsal that took place on Monday focused on “readiness in the event that somebody tries to disrupt to stop the inauguration,” the official said.
Law enforcement and local officials are bracing for possible violence in the coming days due to the calls for new protests.
Washington Mayor Muriel Browser urged Americans on Monday to avoid the city during Biden’s inauguration next week and to participate virtually. She stressed her concerns of more violent actors potentially coming to the city in the run-up to the inauguration. “If I’m scared of anything, it’s for our democracy, because we have very extreme factions in our country that are armed and dangerous,” Browser said.