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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Protecting the State Capitol ahead of the inauguration

The FBI has warned that local law enforcement should expect to see crowds at different State Capitols over the weekend.

MINNEAPOLIS — It's a similar scene at each state capitol. 

In some places, like in Austin, Texas, law enforcement and security presence is a lot more visible than in others. Officers were seen patrolling in Austin, with national guard members also on duty.

In Richmond, Virginia where they have declared a state of emergency due to credible threats, the capitol there sits, surrounded by fencing.

Fences were also a prominent feature at the Arizona state capitol complex. 

Right next door to us in neighboring Wisconsin, the state house in Madison has been boarded up, in what they're calling precautionary measures.

Governor Tim Walz said he was on a call with several other governors this afternoon during which he discussed plans for potential unrest in the next coming days. 

"I was on with the governors of Wisconsin and Kentucky and others, talking about are they going to put up a fence-- in Kentucky they're going to put up a fence," Gov. Walz said. "I think some of you saw, they're boarding windows in Madison, which is precautionary."

Minnesota Department of Public Safety officials said for our capitol in St. Paul, they have increased State Patrol presence on top of the chain link fence that sits around the perimeter. The fence was installed this past summer. DPS officials also made it clear they will be monitoring national reports of potential insurrection as well as other protest activities being discussed.

DPS also said in a statement that they are increasing the number of eyes on the governor's mansion. This comes after protesters who gathered outside the St. Paul capitol last Wednesday moved from there to the governor's mansion while the U.S. Capitol was under attack.

"I think you can probably anticipate, you will see folks protecting folks first amendment rights to peacefully assemble and protest," Gov. Walz said. "I would make the case that you've got a pretty weak argument if you need to bring a gun to do it--but it sounds like that's some of what will happen."

Governor Walz also said he has heard the concerns of Minnesota lawmakers who are worried for their own safety. He was not able to get into specifics, but he said the state also has plans to protect them.

"They are rightfully concerned," Gov. Walz said. "What I can tell you is we're standing up hotlines they can call that are manned 24/7 to state resources, we're coordinating with local police to help them out, and we're thinking about what security measures have to happen at the capitol."

Gov. Walz also took the time to emphasize that lawmakers need to choose words carefully because what they say is often taken literally by citizens.

"I was deeply angered and disappointed that we would have elected officials take part in stoking those emotions," he said. "I think the lesson I learned from that was, if you hear people talking about this, assume they're going to put it into action."

Gov. Walz said he will be invoking an executive order in the next day or so to call on the National Guard to assist with potential unrest in the next coming days.