Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday he will be activating up to 1,000 California National Guard troops to help protect the Capitol Building and ‘critical state infrastructure’ in preparation for planned armed protests next week during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
In addition to National guard troops, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers will be on scene, as well as other law enforcement. A temporary security perimeter will also be placed around the Capitol Building as an added security measure.
The Governor made the decision following news that armed rallies by Trump supporters are planned in all 50 states, with supporters gathering to protest the inauguration of President-elect Biden. Also influencing his decision for increased security was the unwillingness to have a storming of the capitol building by protesters similar to the the storming of the Capitol Building last week.
“We’re taking important steps here in California in light of what we saw at our nation’s Capitol just last week,” Newsom announced in a video address posted on social media.
“Our state operations center is actively working with federal and local law enforcement partners across the spectrum in assessing threats, sharing intelligence, and sharing information. We will respond to any potential violent civil unrest leading up to or during the inaugural if required. We’re treating this very seriously and deploying significant resources to protect public safety, critical infrastructure, and First Amendment rights. But let me be clear. There will be no tolerance for violence.”
“That’s why, today, along with the CHP and Office of Emergency Services, I’ve activated the California National Guard to support the CHP to enhance security with an initial deployment of 1,000 guard members to protect critical state infrastructure in and around the State Capitol. Also today we’re setting up a temporary security perimeter around the Capitol.”
“California will take every necessary measure to protect public safety and protect our Democratic principles and to ensure that those disgraceful actions are not repeated here.”
In light of events in our nation’s capital last week, CA is taking important steps to protect public safety at the State Capitol & across the state.
We're actively working with federal, state & local law enforcement to ensure those disgraceful actions are not repeated here. pic.twitter.com/592uureuLA
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) January 14, 2021
Added security in Sacramento
However, protesters planning to attend have said that violence and breaking past barricades is the last thing they want.
“Sure, we are angry about everything that happened,” said “Dave,” a Fresno resident who is planning to go to Sacramento to protest. “But everyone is saying the day will go down like what happened in DC last week. And that’s not true. We’re not extremists or white nationalists or anything like that. We’re citizens, admittedly Trump supporters, who are very unsure on how the votes were tallied for president. Of course we’re mad that Trump seemingly lost, but there’s a lot of questions over vote counting and missing votes that haven’t been addressed.”
“And that’s why we’ll be there. We feel like the election was stolen, and there’s no real discourse now but to do it publicly. BLM protestors did that last summer when they felt like there was no other option than to get angry and protest, and we’re in that situation now. What else can we do?”
“And, this is important, we’re not trying for an “armed insurrection” or are going to try and break in. We just want our voices heard. Especially in California. I don’t think they needed all the extra security, but after what happened in D.C. and those people breaking in, I can see why.”
“There’s a lot of supporters out there who won’t articulate this as politely, but we’ll be out there because we think that Biden stole this election. You know, Gore supporters protested too in 2001. We’re just doing the same. We’re telling the world, in D.C. and all 50 states, that we don’t think this is right.”
Protests are expected to peak on Tuesday next week in Washington, Sacramento, and other state capitols during Biden’s inauguration.