Police to continue increased presence in downtown Lansing for the next couple weeks

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– It was difficult to know what to expect Sunday at the state Capitol Building, as police prepared for the possibility of armed protests.

Lieutenant Brian Oleksyk with the Michigan State Police said there were only about 20 protesters at the event. Law enforcement and journalists outnumbered those demonstrators.

“We were prepared for half a dozen to a couple of thousand,” Lt. Oleksyk said.

Although he wasn’t able to give exact numbers in terms of police presence, the Michigan National Guard, MSP, Lansing Police, and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department were all present in downtown Lansing.

The Michigan National Guard positioned on Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing during an armed protest on Jan. 17, 2021.

It was difficult to predict how many people would be in attendance, but could heightened security be the cause for the low turnout?

“I think from what you saw last week in the news at our nation’s capital, that that has put maybe everybody on alert and I think being prepared and it could happen in your hometown,” answered Lt. Oleksyk.

With the Presidential Inauguration just three days away, do police expect more or larger protests in the coming week?

“With our intelligence, with our local law enforcement partners, we are monitoring that and again we will be prepared if we need to bring in more resources,” Oleksyk said.

He added that police will continue to have an increased presence for the next couple weeks. If there are more demonstrations, the message from police remains the same.

“We want people to express their constitutional rights, but do it in a safe way. When it comes to violence, destruction of property, assaulting people that are here, media, police, we’re not gonna tolerate that.”

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said the National Guard will be on standby for the next few days. The fence outside the capitol will remain up at least through Wednesday, possibly longer, according to the Vice-Chair of the Michigan State Capitol Commission.

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