MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) — Washington D.C. and states across the country, including Florida, are heightening security and preparing reinforcements ahead of potential armed protests from Saturday up to at least Inauguration Day on Wednesday.
State and local law enforcement agencies in Tallahassee are bracing for potential protests at the Florida Capitol this weekend and early next week, although officials say there are no specific threats right now.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Daniella Mayor Levine Cava: 'Countywide Curfew Could Be Lifted By April 5th'
“We do not have any specific intelligence, but the national narrative that’s going around, we’re certainly aware of that and planning for that as well,” Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell told city commissioners this week.
Despite any specific threats to Florida’s Capitol, lawmakers and staff in Tallahassee are being told to work from home this weekend due to the likelihood of protests.
The heightened vigilance is in response to an internal FBI bulletin warning that “armed protests” in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration are being organized by supporters of President Donald Trump in state capitals across the country. Protests are also being planned in the U.S. Capitol, the bulletin said.
The upcoming protests are slated to take place more than a week after Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, resulting in the arrest of more than a dozen suspects who were photographed ransacking the building. At least five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the attack.
Local officials have ordered city hall in downtown Tallahassee and the nearby Leon County Courthouse to be closed on Jan. 19 and 20, the day of Biden’s inauguration.
“Due to an abundance of caution, local law enforcement made the request to assist with operations in responding to any potential protests in the area of the Florida State Capitol on or around Inauguration Day,” the county said in a prepared statement announcing the courthouse closure.READ MORE: CBS4 Photojournalist Rafael Murciano Is Quite 'The Entertainer' With His Musical Talents
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Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that law enforcement “reinforcements” will be on hand if anyone plans to participate in armed protests at the state Capitol.
“If anything is disorderly, we’re going to act very quickly. Don’t worry about that,” DeSantis said during an appearance in The Villages about COVID-19 vaccinations.
DeSantis, however, has not asked the Florida National Guard to join other forces in Tallahassee, according to Guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Caitlin Brown.
“As of right now, there is no formal request from the state for a Guard presence in Tallahassee,” Brown said in a phone interview on Thursday. “We are standing by and prepared to assist in any way if we are called upon by the Governor.”
Brown did confirm 600 Florida National Guard members are being sent to Washington D.C. to assist in beefed up security surrounding inauguration.
DC Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday that more than 20,000 National Guard members could be expected in the District for Biden’s inauguration.MORE NEWS: Dolphin Legend & Humanitarian Nat Moore Honored With Mural In Overtown
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