Morning remains protest-free in state capitols
By Dan Simmons, Christine Spolar, Maria Sacchetti, Matthew LaPlante, Kathy Lynn Gray and Peter Whoriskey
Capitols across much of the country were quiet midmorning Sunday, though many remained heavily guarded by state police and state National Guard troops.
In Frankfort, Ky., about a dozen small Humvees carrying soldiers with vests stamped “military police” rolled in. Large electronic signs blinked, “Capitol grounds closed,” as a light snow fell. In Madison, Wis., fatigue-clad National Guard troops carrying rifles, riot shields and helmets filed out of nine buses a block from the Wisconsin Capitol. Three hours before a noon protest planned by Trump supporters, the scene was mostly empty.
Humvees also were blocking entrances to the parking garage near the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Staff Lt. Craig S. Cvetan, public affairs commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, said the patrol was not aware of any groups planning to gather at the building — though a few individual demonstrators were beginning to show up.
Kathy Sherman, a retired sculptor, dressed in red boots and a Trump face shield, carried a sign that said, among other things, “Standing for a Citizens Right” and expressing support both the right to bear arms and to peacefully express an opinion. Sherman immediately commanded the kind of media attention many mayors would envy.
“My president — Mr. Trump — thank you, thank you, for your nonpolitical business leadership,” she said to a group of reporters and photographers. Of whatever event might transpire at the statehouse today, she said, “it has to be peaceful.”
Out West, nearly a mile of police tape surrounded the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City, and state troopers were situated across the frost-covered government complex. Protesters had yet to arrive. “They should be out here right now when the light is so beautiful,” one trooper said as the sun rose over the Wasatch Mountains. “Come noon, the sun will be right up overhead, and it won’t be so pretty.”