Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has activated the Michigan National Guard to help with security around the state Capitol in Lansing, part of a wave of concern across the country in the wake of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol and ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
There have been calls for armed protests in all 50 states, but it remains unclear how many will come about and whether they pose any threats of violence.
Concerns are particularly high in Michigan, where armed people flooded into the state Capitol last year to protest the state’s coronavirus restrictions and where 13 men were arrested in October on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges. At least six of them, officials said, had hatched a detailed plan to kidnap Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat who became a focal point of anti-government views and anger over coronavirus control measures.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday authorized the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops and surrounded the state Capitol grounds in Sacramento with a six-foot, covered chain-link fence to “prepare for and respond to credible threats.”
In Lansing, a six-foot high fence will be erected around the state Capitol and windows of state office buildings boarded up to guard against potentially violent protests that are expected on Sunday and Wednesday.
The state Legislature, which just had its first session day of the year and had been scheduled to meet several times next week, canceled those sessions out of an abundance of caution.
The increased law enforcement presence will continue through at least mid-February, said the Michigan State Police director, Col. Joe Gasper. He declined to reveal how many more police and National Guard members would be in place to guard against violence.
“The security enhancements that we have made are both seen, such as the increase in uniformed personnel and a perimeter fence that will be installed around the Capitol today, and unseen, which are things that we have no intention of discussing or disclosing because these efforts are meant to be covert,” he told reporters on Friday.
Tim Waters, special agent in charge of the F.B.I. office in Detroit, said the agency had opened up “numerous” investigations into Michigan residents who were involved in the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week and had picked up both chatter and numerous tips on protests that were planned in the aftermath.
Ms. Whitmer on Friday said the state would send several hundred Michigan National Guard members to help out with security in Washington D.C.
“Ensuring a peaceful transition of presidential power is essential to our democracy, “ she said in a statement.