COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and several law enforcement leaders discussed safety plans for presidential inauguration protests anticipated in the state.
Columbus is one of several U.S. cities that received warning from the FBI to prepare for potentially violent protests and riots. DeWine said there is a heightened sense of concern and they have received information about protests, but he would not go into detail.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the FBI memo stated, according to law enforcement leaders who read it to the Associated Press.
DeWine said there will be a significant presence from the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio National Guard, which will back up local law enforcement, the state’s capitol. He signed a proclamation mobilizing the national guard in Columbus and if needed, to other cities in the state.
“We will always respect the rights of peaceful protests. However, I think all Americans were horrified by what they saw last week at our nation’s capitol,” DeWine said. “The sad truth is that there are people in country who want to turn peaceful protests into opportunities for violence.”
The Ohio Statehouse will be closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. DeWine said said state office buildings in downtown Columbus will be closed as well and personnel will work from home.
The governor said the state is sending an additional 500 members of the national guard to the area of the U.S. Capitol, at the request for the federal government, for a total of 700.
President-elect Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States when he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20.
Current plans are for President-elect Biden to be sworn-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon on that day.
“I am not afraid to take the oath outside,” Biden said this week.
Many of the traditional events were already scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, there are renewed concerns about safety following violent riots by pro-Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol last week.
It’s estimated 15,000 National Guardsmen are on duty in the nation’s capital.