A double row of chain-link fencing circles the Arizona State Capitol. Windows on the Illinois and Ohio statehouses have been boarded up. National Guard troops in camouflage and flak jackets and heavily armed state troopers were stationed at state capitals across the U.S. in advance of protests planned for Sunday.
With the FBI warning of potential for violence at all state capitols, the ornate halls of government and symbols of democracy looked more like heavily guarded U.S. embassies in war-torn countries.
Governors have declared states of emergency, closed capitols to the public and called up troops ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
They are trying to avoid a repeat of the mob rioting that occurred Jan. 6, when supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, leaving a Capitol Police officer and four others dead.
Details were vague, but demonstrations were expected at state capitols beginning Sunday and leading up to Biden taking the oath of the office Wednesday.
Signs of ramped-up security were in abundance from Atlanta to Sacramento, California, throughout the week.
SWAT officers stood guard at the Georgia State Capitol. A bomb-detecting dog sniffed its way through the capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. State troopers were poised on the roof of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Sections of temporary fencing that encircled many state capitols were locked together in Sacramento with handcuffs.
National Guard troops patrolled the California Capitol and streets of downtown Sacramento on Saturday.