Law enforcement on high alert, armed protests planned across the country

Law enforcement on high alert, armed protests planned across the country

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Less than a week after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI is warning agencies across the country about the possibility of more violent protests.

Flyers are circulating online encouraging armed protests at all 50 state capitols, and Virginia officials say they are monitoring the situation and working across agencies to prepare.

“The anomaly at the U.S. Capitol was just that, an anomaly - we don’t know why it was a failure of the law enforcement groups to protect the most fortified building in the free world,” said NBC12 Safety Expert Mike Jones. “I do know that Capitol Police, as an agency, we plan for events all the time, this is not new for Capitol Police not in Virginia or other police. I know investigations will be conducted about what happened in Washington and justifiably so. It should not have happened that way. I think the sense of most folks who protect capitols is that will not happen here.”

Virginia Capitol Police report they have been planning with law enforcement partners as they prepare for the 2021 General Assembly session.

In a statement to NBC 12 a spokesperson wrote:

“The Virginia Capitol building has been closed for quite some time due to the pandemic, and while Capitol Square remains open, Governor Northam, through Executive Order No. 72, has outlined limits on the amount of people who can congregate in public spaces.”

Governor Northam says his office is monitoring the situation and working with “federal, state, Richmond, VCU, and Capitol Police—to protect the Capitol and ensure the safety of Virginians.”

“Law enforcement across Virginia and across the country have always been aware, but they are on hyper-awareness now, looking for any type of indicator of violence or threat,” Jones explained “It is your right to protest, but your rights don’t include hurting or intimidating others. If you hear of anyone who wants to cause harm or hurt at the state capitol, let your Capitol Police or local fusion center know. This not the place for violence or hurt, this is a place for peaceful protest.”

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.