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California National Guard activated to help secure state Capitol against potential armed protests


National Guard troops will join law enforcement fortifying the state Capitol in Sacramento in anticipation of potential armed protests timed around President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, mimicking security measures instituted in Washington, D.C. after the insurrection that spurred President Trump’s second impeachment.

Those security measures already included six-foot-high fencing going up around the state’s legislative nerve center and a visibly increased presence of the California Highway Patrol, whose Capitol Protection Section oversees its defenses. Gov. Gavin Newsom that Guard troops could arrive as soon as Friday.

The governor said Thursday he signed a general order authorizing the deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard personnel “to protect critical infrastructure, including the state Capitol,” according to a news release issued Thursday.

“What we witnessed in our nation’s capital was an undemocratic and an unconscionable assault on our republic,” Newsom said in a recorded video. California will take every necessary measure to protect public safety and our democratic principles and to ensure that those disgraceful actions are not repeated here

That follows similar actions at state capitals including those in Washington state, Texas, and Georgia, where Guard or state troops now have ubiquitous presence.

Newsom and top state elected officials — including State Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon — are leaving nothing to chance in light of an internal FBI bulletin that surfaced this week warning that “armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols” between Saturday and Wednesday, when Biden is set to be sworn in as president.

Wednesday, a joint statement from the three leaders said they were working “with the CHP, Senate and Assembly Sergeants, and local law enforcement to keep the people’s house safe,” while being openly mindful of keeping any tactical details out of the public sphere. Newsom

The CHP also denied a permit for a pro-Trump rally in front of the state Capitol scheduled for Sunday and cleared its calendar of any permitted events for the entire weekend. According to The Sacramento Bee, the CHP cited both COVID-19 gathering restrictions and potential civil unrest for its decision.

Numerous state lawmakers are planning to stay away next week, instead opting to participate in Assembly and Senate business remotely, according to multiple sources in the Legislature. While they would need to be physically present for a vote, given that the legislative session has been active for barely a month, that does not stand to pose a significant disruption. There is at least one notable exception: Talks about financial relief supporting Newsom’s latest plan to re-open schools could be rescheduled.

State legislators have been on heightened alert since before the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, in which a riotous pro-Trump mob breached and ransacked the grounds and numerous Congressional offices to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College vote formalizing Biden’s election. The insurrection ended with the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer, and was immediately etched into history as one of the most infamous days of American democracy.

The day before, in anticipation of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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