FBI Warns of Planned Protests at 50 State Capitols

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The FBI warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol, the Associated Press reports. An internal FBI bulletin warned that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Jan. 20. Investigators believe some of the instigators are members of extremist group. “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state legislatures from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said. With fewer than two-thirds of state capitols using metal detectors, and about 20 statehouses allowing guns inside, there are many security gaps rioter could exploit, reports Stateline.

The FBI issued at least one other bulletin to law enforcement nationwide on the topic — before the riots last week. On Dec. 29, it warned of the potential for armed demonstrators targeting legislatures. Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the Guard is “keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested.” The riots followed weeks of online calls for violence in Washington in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency. A tweet in which Trump promised that last Wednesday’s event “will be wild” fueled a “month-long frenzy of incitements, strategizing, and embrace of violence against lawmakers,” according to a research group that tracks online extremism. The SITE Intelligence Group also warns that the Capitol attack has emboldened Trump-supporting extremists. “No matter how all this plays out, its only the beginning,” posted a user on TheDonald message board.

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