Armed protesters gather at heavily fortified state capitols of Ohio, Michigan, Texas and elsewhere

Griffin Connolly
·3 min read
Armed far-right militia members gathered at the statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire, on Sunday. (AFP via Getty Images)
Armed far-right militia members gathered at the statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire, on Sunday. (AFP via Getty Images)

Groups of heavily armed Americans have begun clustering at various state capitols across the US, including in Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas, for protests ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Roughly two dozen members of the radical anti-government “boogaloo” movement have congregated outside the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, for instance, the New York Times has reported.

The “Boogaloo Boys” are a loosely termed group of right-wing extremists who either expect or want to incite the “boogaloo,” a second American civil war. Many espouse openly white supremacist and neo-Nazi views. They are all staunchly pro-gun, and most of them are loyal supporters of Donald Trump.

Armed protesters have also started gathering at the state capitols in Lansing, Michigan, Salem, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, the Times reported on Sunday.

Several governors, including Maryland GOP Governor Larry Hogan, have declared states of emergencies. Nineteen states have called up National Guard troops for extra protection as the FBI continues to warn of massive security threats all over the country as right-wing extremists plan potentially violent protests online.

Federal and local law enforcement officials are on high alert for events and protests surrounding Mr Biden’s inauguration after a mob of thousands of Trump supporters — incited by the outgoing president — laid siege to the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January, forcing lawmakers who were certifying the 2020 election results to take cover and flee for their lives.

More than 300 pro-Trump radicals who stormed the Capitol have have been identified by federal law enforcement. Many of them have been arrested and indicted.

After spending nearly a year casting doubt on the validity of a potential loss in the 2020 election and then two months challenging the actual results of the 3 November 2020 presidential election, Mr Trump finally accepted in the days following the Capitol riot that he will hand over power to Mr Biden on 20 January.

Mr Trump, whose inflammatory rhetoric and conspiracy theories about a “stolen election” many believe has radicalised Republican voters, urged his supporters to abstain from violent forms of protest in the coming days.

“I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” the president said in a written statement last Wednesday. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”

That statement was too little too late for many in Congress, including 10 Republicans, as the president was impeached by the House for a second time just hours after releasing that statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will be relegated to minority leader later this month, has left open the possibility of voting to convict Mr Trump at his impending impeachment trial. At least 17 Republicans would need to vote with all 50 Democratic senators to convict Mr Trump and bar him from ever holding federally elected office in the future.

The National Mall in Washington, DC will be completely closed off to the public on Inauguration Day amid ongoing concerns about the prospect of violent protests.

More than 20,000 National Guard troops have been called up to protect the swearing in of the 46th president on Wednesday 20 January. The FBI is monitoring threats ahead of the event, including the possibility of armed protests.

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