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Security in D.C., state Capitols tightened amid inauguration threats

By Jean Lotus
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New security measures, including additional fencing, are being put into place by the U.S. National Guard around the U.S. Capitol ahead of the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/8e15b3f652d1adeb4b1ae892fcb12b08/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
New security measures, including additional fencing, are being put into place by the U.S. National Guard around the U.S. Capitol ahead of the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Security officials in Washington, D.C., and U.S. state capitals are on the alert for possible armed protests around President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration after last week's siege of the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. National Guard will deploy up to 15,000 armed troops in Washington during the inauguration events, Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a call with reporters Monday. The Guard has also installed new fencing around the Capitol.

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The National Park Service has closed the Washington Monument after Inauguration Day.

"Groups involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration," Jeffrey P. Reinbold, superintendent of the National Mall and memorial parks, said in a statement Monday. "This includes the setup and execution of inaugural events, which occur in several park areas."

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Inaugural events are being scaled back this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a "virtual parade" and spectators encouraged to watch from home instead of traveling to D.C. President Donald Trump said Friday he would not attend.

Biden said he has no fear of taking the oath of office at the Capitol.

"I am not afraid to take the oath outside, and we've been getting briefed," Biden told reporters Monday.

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Meanwhile, the FBI said in an internal bulletin that armed insurrectionists were planning to "storm" Washington, D.C., on Saturday, ABC reported.

"The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, D.C., on 16 January," the bulletin said. "They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur."

The FBI has also reported credible threats of armed protests planned at all 50 U.S. state Capitol buildings for the days leading up to Biden's inauguration. State officials were taking actions to boost security.

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The Michigan Capitol Commission voted Monday to ban the open carry of guns inside state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Officials seek to avoid a repeat of last April's storming of the building by armed militants protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's COVID-19 mask mandates and at-home orders.

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Authorities boarded up the windows of the state Capitol in Madison, Wis.

In Nevada, a Clark County Democrat Party chairman issued a public safety alert warning that Republican Party websites were "blatantly calling for insurrection and violence." "Over the past 48 hours, the online activity on social media has escalated to the point that we must take these threats seriously."

Nye, Nev., Republicans issued a letter Friday drawing on multiple conspiracy theories accusing Vice President Mike Pence of "treason" and saying Trump had "never conceded" the election.

U.S. Rep. Steve Horsford, D-Nev., who represents Nye County, dismissed the letter, saying, "It's not 1776 and the failed attempt of a coup involving some Republicans is sedition against the will of the people and our democracy. Any suggestion otherwise is a refusal to accept reality."

In Olympia, Wash., armed protesters gathered briefly Monday in the rain and arrests were made at the state Capitol as the legislative session began. New security measures have been implemented, including fencing and traffic restrictions.

After the pro-Trump siege of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in which five people died, members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday attempted to compel Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. That effort was blocked by House Republicans.

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The House then introduced a single article of impeachment to remove Trump from office for inciting the riots.

Donald Trump supporters breach Capitol, riot over election results

Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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