March 3, 2021

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California’s heavily fortified state Capitol sees only handful of protesters – SF Gate

4 min read

As police officers and National Guard troops stood ready for protesters Sunday, California’s state Capitol remained quiet.

With a chain link fence erected around the Capitol building, Sacramento was prepared after warnings of armed violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Wednesday inauguration. But only a handful of demonstrators showed up by Sunday afternoon.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the small showing included an Eagle Scout holding a U.S. flag and two Biden supporters waving signs for the president-elect and “alternately being cheered or jeered by passing motorists.”

Two National Guards stand guard on the steps of a government building across from the California Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021
Two National Guards stand guard on the steps of a government building across from the California Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

Andri Tambunan/Special to SFGATE

Security was stepped up in Sacramento and across the country in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings. The security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when far-right Trump supporters, galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him, overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote.

The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection.

Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race.

On Sunday, some statehouses were surrounded by new security fences, their windows were boarded up, and extra officers were on patrol. Legislatures generally were not in session over the weekend.

Most state capitol buildings were quiet with only small groups of right-wing protesters gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses.

Christian Alvarado stands in front of the west steps of the California Capitol holding an American Flag in Sacramento, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. On his mask was written a message “E Pluribus Unum” or Out of Many One, to show solidarity for the politicians that were attacked at the US Capitol in DC.

Christian Alvarado stands in front of the west steps of the California Capitol holding an American Flag in Sacramento, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. On his mask was written a message “E Pluribus Unum” or Out of Many One, to show solidarity for the politicians that were attacked at the US Capitol in DC.

Andri Tambunan/Special to SFGATE

The roughly 20 protesters who showed up at Michigan’s Capitol, including some who were armed, were significantly outnumbered by law enforcement officers and members of the media.

At the Ohio Statehouse, about two dozen people, including several carrying long guns, protested outside under the watchful eyes of state troopers before dispersing as it began to snow.

The California Highway Patrol denied permits due to the risk of violence, but there was concern protesters would show up anyway.

“State workers have been asked to work remotely and stay away from state buildings in downtown through Thursday,” reported KCRA. “And city leaders are urging the public to avoid the city center if possible.”

The heavy law enforcement in Sacramento will continue through Inauguration Day.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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