Security stepped up at all 50 State Capitol buildings ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration
SMALL groups of Right-wing protesters — some of them carrying rifles — gathered outside heavily fortified Statehouses around the country, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the US Capitol. As darkness fell, there were no reports of any clashes. Security was stepped up in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 State Capitol buildings ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The American capital has been put under heightened security with the deployment of nearly 25,000 National Guards. The Capitol Hill, the complex comprising of US Congress and its buildings, was briefly put under lockdown on Monday due to “an external security treat”, local police said after a fire was reported a few blocks away. The lockdown was later lifted. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off Statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty.
Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry Government overreach. “I don’t trust the results of the election,” said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, “We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin.”