LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– The FBI is reporting armed protests planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
A Monday bulletin from the FBI states that “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.”
The flyer circulating online says protests will take place Sunday, Jan. 17, and demonstrators are encouraged to come armed.
Lansing Police, City of Lansing officials, and the Michigan State Police said Monday they’re all preparing for the possibility.
In a statement sent to 6 News, a spokesperson for MSP wrote:
“The Michigan State Police takes our responsibility for ensuring safety at Michigan’s Capitol very seriously. Demonstrations are a common occurrence, with the vast majority being entirely peaceful gatherings. We continually monitor for security threats and maintain situational awareness of what is happening in Michigan and across the country. Our security planning is fluid and adjustments are made as needed, from day-to-day.
Security enhancements are both seen and unseen. In general, we don’t discuss security measures, but I can confirm that we will be increasing our visible presence at the Capitol for the next couple of weeks starting this morning.”– Lt. Brian Oleksyk, Public Information Officer – MSP 1st District
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said while he’s optimistic things will stay peaceful, officials have to be prepared for the worst.
“What we want is everyone to stay safe. We don’t want to see violence like we saw in Washington DC. You know, I think everyone is on a heightened alert right now. People have the right to protest, but they don’t have the right to damage property or break-in or you know, any violence,” Mayor Schor said Monday afternoon.
Michigan’s Capitol Building is under the jurisdiction of Capitol Security and MSP, but the sidewalks, streets, and surrounding city are under LPD’s command.
“We’re certainly taking it very serious based on what we saw down in Washington at the U.S. Capitol and we’re concerned about our citizens and so forth, and so we’re moving ahead with our planning,” said Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green.
The chief added that his department has been collaborating with MSP, Capitol Security, local and federal law enforcement partners to prepare for Sunday’s demonstration.
“We believe in the first amendment expression of speech. We will definitely support that. However, we will not tolerate any type of property damage, assaultive behaviors. We will have the necessary responses to keep the city safe,” he said.