Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the National Guard and state workers boarded up windows at office buildings near the capitol in Lansing on Friday morning, preparing for the possibility armed protests rumored for Sunday may get violent and destructive.
The planning comes in the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol and as law enforcement and media reports indicate there could be protests at state capitols around the country this weekend. The protesters are believed to support President Donald Trump and his lies that the election was rigged or stolen, planning events in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
“Law enforcement officials here in Michigan have a plan and are working together to ensure that we don’t see a repeat of those dangerous, illegal and disgraceful actions at our Capitol,” Col. Joe Gasper, head of the Michigan State Police, said during a press conference Friday morning.
“The constitutional right to speak freely and petition the government is one of the most basic rights that we have as Americans. The role of law enforcement is to protect these rights by providing a safe forum for everyone to the best of our ability. When it comes to public demonstrations, protection of people and property is the number one focus and mission for law enforcement.”
Gasper said the state police already have increased the number of officers at the Capitol, and would maintain an increased presence through at least mid-February.