LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— At almost every point of the planned protest in Lansing Sunday, those in place to keep things peaceful, and those covering it, outnumbered those actually in attendance protesting.
Early this week the FBI issued a warning, that armed protests planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
By 1:30 P.M. Sunday as said in the following report by 6 News reporter Brittany Flowers, many were starting to leave the area, including members of the boogaloo boys, leaving only a few scattered protestors left on Capitol grounds.
A peaceful demonstration like this, something Lansing Mayor told 6 News is always welcome in the city. He and his team spent the afternoon walking around the area, scoping things out, and while they were hopeful it would stay calm, said they were prepared should things not go so smoothly.
Preparation for what could have happened was something Michigan District 8 congresswoman Elissa Slotkin says was needed, and maybe what led to a smaller turnout. She was in Lansing on Sunday and spoke to 6 News outside of the Capitol Building.
I’m here in Lansing with the Lansing Police, watching the protest going on in front of the Capitol. There are ~200 protestors right now, some armed.— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) January 17, 2021
The Capitol is protected by overlapping layers of security & I feel confident that they are working together to keep people safe. pic.twitter.com/siyLCl7V1w
“What I’ve seen is a very coordinated effort between law enforcement and the national guard, which is something frankly we weren’t seeing at the Capitol before the attacks,” said Slotkin in reference to events in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6. “It makes me feel good we’re absorbing some of those lessons.”
You can watch here full interview in the video below:
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 they’re all preparing for the possibility.
“If you are going to come down to the Capitol and demonstrate peacefully, then we will provide that safe space for you,” Col. Joe Gasper, the head of MSP, said at a Friday morning press conference in Lansing. “If you are coming to the Capitol to engage in some nefarious activity, then we are also very well prepared to address that.”
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.” Said Lt. Brian Oleksyk, Public Information Officer – MSP 1st District
In the video below you can listen to the full news conference held my Michigan State Police on Friday, talking about preparations for this week.
Michigan State Police also posted a note on Facebook, encouraging anyone who sees anything suspicious, to help them out by reporting it.
In other fallout of planned protests around the country this week, Friday Michigan state legislature leadership announced they would not hold sessions next week, following concern of “credible threats”. The move is said to be taken out of an abundance of caution.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth today released the following statement on the Legislature’s updated schedule for next week:
“The Michigan State Police, as well as House and Senate sergeants at arms, have expressed concern over credible threats regarding events scheduled to take place at and around the state Capitol next week. With no votes scheduled on the calendar, we have decided to act in an abundance of caution by not holding session in either the House or the Senate on January 19-21. We hope everyone stays safe and respects the peaceful transition of power, and we hope legislators and staff at the Capitol take time to thank the team of police officers and sergeants who work together to keep us all safe.
“As we have said before, the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week was a terrible moment for our country. We must be better than this as a nation, and that begins this week with what will hopefully remain peaceful protests and demonstrations in Washington, D.C., Lansing, and around the country.”Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey & Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth
President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office on Wednesday, officially marking the start of their term in office. President Trump plans to leave the nation’s Capitol the morning before the event, and will not attend the inauguration ceremony.
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