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Utah State Capitol to beef up security ahead of planned armed protests

Posted at 12:48 PM, Jan 11, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — An internal FBI bulletin warns that armed protests are being planned for the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, and the other 49 state capitols, starting this week and through Inauguration Day.

READ: Utah A.G. Sean Reyes denies involvement in robocalls encouraging ‘patriots’ to attend rally at U.S. Capitol

ABC News reports the bulletin says the FBI has received information calling "for 'storming' state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event President Donald Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day."

President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to take the oath of office on Jan. 20.

According to the report, police agencies around the country have been advised to increase the security presence around statehouses.

In anticipation of more demonstrations, Utah's Department of Public Safety will increase security at the Utah State Capitol.

Additional Utah Highway Patrol troopers will be assigned to the Capitol next week as the legislature gets under way. It will be the first time the building has re-opened to the public since it closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are adjusting staffing as needed to meet any potential need there to ensure the protection of the capitol grounds," said UHP Lt. Nick Street.

UHP has also opted not to send 40 troopers to Washington D.C., to participate in an inauguration parade and instead stay here and respond to any incidents.

Because of concerns about COVID-19 spread, the Capitol Preservation Board, which oversees the grounds, will not permit any protests inside the Utah State Capitol. Instead, it will make accommodations for demonstrations outside on the south steps, in the plaza between buildings, and on the southwest lawn. Portable restrooms and sanitization stations will be brought in for protesters.

FOX 13 reported last week that security at the Utah State Capitol was being reviewed following the insurgence by Trump supporters at the US Capitol last week in which five people died, including a police officer.

READ: Utah activist claims he was just documenting US Capitol insurgence

A smaller protest in front of the capitol building in Salt Lake City was held on the same day, with some at the rally carrying guns. The protest in Utah was relatively quiet compared to the event in Washington, but one photographer with the Salt Lake Tribune was doused with pepper spray.

The Utah State Capitol was heavily vandalized during a May 30 riot in downtown Salt Lake City.

The Utah State Capitol, which is known for facilitating peaceful demonstrations, will see one Jan. 17 called a "We are Not the Enemy rally." The exact political cause is unknown, but the Capitol Preservation Board did say a permit for a demonstration was requested outside the building.