Michigan law enforcement on armed Capitol protests this weekend: ‘We will be prepared’

Protest planned for noon Sunday at Michigan Capitol

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Lansing, Mich. Statehouses where Trump loyalists have rallied since the Nov. 3 election are heightening security after the storming of the U.S. Capitol this week. Police agencies in a number of states are monitoring threats of violence as legislatures return to session and as the nation prepares for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LANSING, Mich. – Law enforcement agencies across Michigan are stepping up security measures at the Capitol and in surrounding areas to prepare for expected armed protests starting this weekend.

Michigan State Police, working with the Michigan National Guard and FBI, says that have increased personnel and protective measures at the Capitol and in Downtown Lansing.

The Lansing Police Department announced that there is an event planned for noon at the Michigan Capitol on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Police are encouraging anyone not attending the event to avoid the Downtown Lansing area. Those attending the event are being asked to follow all traffic laws and guidelines.

“Security enhancements that have been put in place include both seen and unseen measures,” stated Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “I can assure you that we take our responsibility for safeguarding the Capitol and those who work and visit here seriously and, together with our law enforcement partners, we will be prepared to ensure law and order.”

On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the National Guard to assist with security measures.

The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies in all 50 states of possible armed protests at state Capitol buildings starting this weekend. Investigators believe some of the people are members of extremist groups, the officials told AP.

Related: 6-foot fences to be installed around Michigan Capitol Building due to threats of violence

“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 bulletin said.

More: FBI tracking ‘extensive’ online chatter about armed protests

Michigan State Police said Friday, in anticipation of an unknown number of demonstrators expected to gather on the grounds of the Michigan Capitol on Sunday, January 17, the MSP is again increasing its uniform presence by mobilizing troopers from across the state. MSP’s resources will be complemented by uniform personnel from the Lansing Police Department, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Michigan National Guard to ensure that the greater downtown area is also protected.

Details about the number of officers or their specific security missions will not be shared.

“In general, we don’t discuss security measures so as not to provide an advantage to those wishing to inflict harm and cause disruption, but it’s important for the public to know that law enforcement is working together and has a coordinated plan to do everything within our power to ensure safety,” Gasper added. “We remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate do so peacefully, without violence or destruction of property.”

There will be several road closures in effect for downtown Lansing on Sunday to facilitate ingress and egress.

More: FBI says it warned about prospect of violence ahead of riot

Law enforcement asks residents to assist us by reporting suspicious and unusual activity. Tips can be submitted 24/7 by calling 1-855-MICH-TIP or submitting an online tip at www.michigan.gov/MichTip. Tips can also be submitted direct to MichTip by downloading our mobile app. For matters that require immediate police response, call 9-1-1.

The GOP-led Michigan Legislature has cancelled sessions for next week due to “credible threats regarding events schedule to take place at and around the state Capitol.”

All of this comes, of course, one week after a pro-Trump mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol building, resulting in five deaths, including one Capitol police officer. President Trump was impeached for the second time this week for his role in inciting the riots.

As a result, thousands of National Guard members are on alert in the nation’s Capitol ahead of Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Fences will be installed around the Michigan Capitol Building ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to guard against the threat of violent protests or riots.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter.