LANSING, Mich. – Things were calm at the Capitol Building in Lansing Sunday.
At its busiest, close to two dozen armed protesters gathered, but they were significantly outnumbered by police and National Guard. It’s unclear if the low numbers were because the event was loosely organized or if extremist groups were warned not to attend for fear of arrests.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said there was no violence and no arrests were made.
Despite the lofty rhetoric, the protest mounted to little more than a small airing of complaints.
Among the few were members of the “boogaloo” movement.
Timothy Teagan, who has attended protests in Michigan and other states, was armed with a rifle, cigarettes and beef jerky.
“We always come armed. Full kit,” Teagan said. “Exercising our rights to protect our First Amendment rights.”
Echoing a recent call from President Donald Trump and some GOP officials, protesters said they were there for unity despite online advocacy for violence and war. The “boogaloo” name is a specific reference to kickstarting a second American Civil War.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, boogaloo is a term “used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or collapse of society.”
“I’m a member of a movement an ideology that wants to restore our liberties and our freedoms,” Teagan said. “We refuse to stand down and take a knee. We’ll stand on our knees with our head held high.”
The protesters left after about an hour.
Michigan State Police troopers and members of the National Guard were on duty and ready for the potential for violence after a Jan. 6 protest turned into a deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol Building.
“Yes, I think everybody is on edge,” said MSP. Lt. Brian Oleksyk. “We want to assure everybody in the state of Michigan we are well prepared to protect this building today.”
The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate canceled sessions after threats reported were deemed credible.
State officials said the elevated police presence in Lansing is expected to last at least until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.