The “shock and awe” effect of thousands of National Guard troops and police appears to have dissuaded pro-Trump protesters from any major Inauguration Day disruptions.
“The message that was sent by law enforcement ahead of the inauguration was very clear, that there would be thousands of police officers and troops guarding these buildings,” said Brian Higgins, the former police chief in Bergen County, New Jersey, reports aol.com.
“I’m sure that is one reason why there haven’t been many protesters.”
Higgins, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that as investigators sift through the online postings of extremist groups, it is often difficult to separate actual plots from postings that are meant “to stir us up.”
“Intelligence is often a judgment call, because people post crazy stuff every day,” Higgins said.
Another factor, law enforcement sources said, was the “shock and awe” of the swift arrests by the FBI and the Justice Department of the pro-Trump rioters who ransacked the Capitol.
There was exactly one pro-Trump protester outside the heavily fortified New York state Capitol in Albany.
“I was coming out to hopefully join a bunch of peaceful protesters in supporting the cause, that is almost a lost cause now, unfortunately, I’m sad to say,” Mark Leggiero, who was holding a Trump flag, told The Daily Gazette of Schenectady.
A group of protesters carrying signs against President Joe Biden and police marched in Portland, Ore., on Inauguration Day and damaged the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, reports the Associated Press.
Police said eight arrests were made in the area. Some demonstrators carried a sign reading, “We don’t want Biden, we want revenge!” in response to “police murders” and “imperialist wars.” Others carried a banner declaring “We Are Ungovernable.”
Portland has been the site of frequent protests, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Mayor Ted Wheeler has decried what he described as a segment of violent agitators who detract from the message of police accountability and should be subject to more severe punishment.
Outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, NBC News spotted a single pro-Trump protester wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words “Impeach China Joe.”
In California, a small group of protestors got past a police barrier and began chanting outside the heavily guarded and fenced-off state Capitol in Sacramento. But they appeared to be antifa activists and could be heard denouncing Trump.
After the storming of the U.S. Capitol, the FBI sent a memo to law enforcement agencies warning about possible armed protests at all 50 state Capitols starting last Saturday, Jan. 16.
Aa small group of armed Trump supporters who showed up Sunday at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to protest the election results were vastly outnumbered by law enforcement officers.
In Salem, Oregon, the few Trump backers were even more outnumbered by police officers and members of the National Guard.
And in Trump bastions like Oklahoma, the protesters simply failed to show.
But the sparse protests should not persuade authorities to let their guard down, say some commentators.
In a podcast last week on the New York Times’ The Daily, cybersecurity reporter Sheera Frankel warned that many extremist groups “are deciding to bide their time. ”
“A lot of them are coming to the realization it is not possible to stop Biden from becoming president, that what they did on January 6th drew too much attention and if they do something in the next week they are going to get arrested,” Frankel said.
“Instead they are taking a long term view. They are saying, ‘We have attracted a lot of attention to our cause and recruited new members and come back in a year or two years and take everyone by surprise.’ ”
Some groups appear to be turning against Trump , claiming that he didn’t put up more of a fight to stay in office, reports The New York Times.
Some members of the Proud Boys have called Trump a “shill” and “extraordinarily weak,” and have since urged others not to attend any more Trump events or even those from the Republican party, The Times reported.
At the same time, there are signs that militant protests from the left aren’t going away. Seattle police said they made at least three arrests during a protest by antifa against Biden.
At least 100 protesters, some of them chanting “f—k President Biden” scrawled graffiti, set fire to an American flag, and smashed windows at the historic site of the very first Starbucks, the Seattle Times reported.