A nation on edge: All 50 state capitols go on alert as Boogaloo Boys claim they ‘will continue’ their armed rally in DC on Sunday despite 25,000 National Guard troops guarding the Capitol as US braces for inauguration unrest
- Anti-government movement the Boogaloo Boys is reported to be continuing with plans for an armed rally in D.C. and at all 50 state capitols this Sunday
- The group is continuing with the event despite patrols from thousands of National Guard troops now taking over the streets in D.C.
- At least 7,000 troops are already in D.C. with 25,000 expected to arrive in total ahead of Biden’s inauguration
- Officials have installed a security apparatus around the complex where the inauguration is to take place
- Texas, Kentucky and Virginia have all closed their state capitols amid threats of violence
- At least 10 states have already called in their National Guard in preparation, as the FBI warned of armed protests fuelled by supporters of Trump who believe his false claims of electoral fraud
- Officials are hoping to avoid the violence of the pro-Trump riot on the U.S. Capitol on January 6
- Boogaloo Boys has said they are working with law enforcement yet encouraged participants in its posts to ‘come armed at your personal discretion’ for the January 17 rallies
The Boogaloo Boys movement has said it is moving ahead with armed rallies in D.C. and at all 50 state capitols on Sunday despite the National Guard being called in across the country.
Fringe website associated with the anti-government movement continue to encourage members to come armed at their ‘personal discretion’
It comes amid fears of further violence following the January 6 riot on the U.S. captiol by a pro-Trump mob that lead to the five deaths, with ten states deploying their National Guard to deal with the potential threat.
Texas, Kentucky and Virginia have all closed their state captiols after intelligance warned of a threat from ‘violent extremists’.
D.C. has called in 25,000 National Guard troops to guard the streets in and around the Capitol in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20. They are being joined by patrols by the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol Police and law enforcement from cities around the country.
There are at least 7,000 troops from dozens of states already on the ground in the nation’s capital with more to arrive in the coming days.
Officials have installed a massive security apparatus around the complex where the inauguration is to take place.
The FBI has also warned police agencies of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting January 16 through January 20, fuelled by supporters of Trump who believe his false claims of electoral fraud.
Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Washington are among the states that have activated their National Guards to strengthen security.
D.C: The National Guard secure the area near the Capitol for possible protest ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration
D.C.: Unprecedented armed security at the nation’s capital ahead of President Biden’s Inauguration
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Texas Dept. of Public Safety riot police stand guard at the Texas Capitol in Austin
SALEM, OREGON: Workers cover ground floor windows with plywood at the state Capitol building
MADISON, WISCONSIN: Workers set up a vehicle barricade on the E. Washington Ave. side of the Wisconsin Capitol
D.C: A member of the National Guard stands at a road block in D.C. on Saturday morning
D.C.: Secret Service guarded the U.S. Capitol on Saturday ahead of a potential armed rally on Sunday
D.C.: Police officers and National Guard troops behind a security fence at the US Capitol on Saturday
D.C: Officials have installed a massive security apparatus around the complex where the inauguration is to take place
AUSTIN, TEXAS: A small group of protesters stand outside the Texas state capitol on Saturday after its closure
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: Workers close off an entrance to the Illinois State Capitol in preparations for possible protests
D.C: The streets are nearly empty with non-scalable fencing guarded by a larger presence of Secret Service officers, near the White House ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, as pictured above
D.C.: A police helicopter flies by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as the city prepares for protests
Law enforcement officials have trained much of their focus on Sunday, when the anti-government ‘boogaloo’ movement has flagged its plans to hold rallies in all 50 states.
Chatter around such protests is present on some social media, said Jared Holt, a disinformation researcher at the Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council, and an internal FBI bulletin this week warned of extremist threats at such events.
‘Although no civil disobedience has been confirmed, organizers have encouraged attendees to bring weapons to the event,’ the FBI bulletin said of the protest.
Organizers ‘are still intent on going forward,’ Holt added. ‘It remains unclear what we could expect as far as turnout goes for that.’
The original post announcing the rallies dates back to November 24 on a website linked to the Boogaloos named Tree of Liberty, according to CBS.
D.C: National Guard troops assemble outside of the U.S. Captiol on Saturday morning
D.C: After last week’s riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation’s capital and in all 50 states. aAs many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding D.C. as preparations are made for the inauguration
D.C: Soldiers in the Maryland National Guard in preparation in D.C. on Saturday morning
D.C: National Guard troops march by security fencing near the U.S. Capitol as they arrive on Saturday
D.C: National Guard troops have also been called in from surrounding stataes to D.C.
D.C: Members of the US National Guard patrol near the US Capitol ahead of potential protests on Sunday
It declared an ‘armed march on Capitol Hill and all state capitols’ scheduled for January 17 and while stating that the rally would be peaceful, urged members to ‘come armed at your personal discretion’.
‘This will be a chance for Americans young and old to physically demonstrate to the world the massive amount of armed citizens in this country,’ wrote one moderator.
Despite the calls for the rallies to remain peaceful, commenters underneath the post suggested that executions were necessary to solve problems in the U.S., according to CBC.
The status of the rallies remained uncertain after last week’s storming of the Capitol with a further post stating it was ‘pending status given the events that have taken place’.
Yet a member of the group who identified themselves to CBS as a press contact has now said that they have made the decision to move ahead.
They added that the group is working alongside law enforcement, despite their anti-givernment stance, to ensure that further violence does not erupt at Sunday’s events.
The Boogaloos have also allegedly urged fellow far-right group The Proud Boys and MAGA supporters not to attend to prevent tensions from arising.
‘The 1/17 events will continue, and safeguards are in place to assure that nothing violent happens concerning the Boogaloo Boys,’ the spokesperson told CBS.
‘I cannot speak on behalf of the Proud Boys or MAGA people, and we made it clear that we’d rather not see them there.’
The cooperation with law enforcement and federal officals has led to some members posting warnings to others that the January 17 protest is being used as a ‘trap’.
Yet the Tree of Liberty administrator who spoke to CBS said that they had been left with no choice.
‘We have made it very clear that we are working with authorities to pick out anybody who has plans to do anything violent and ensure that they are intervened with before the event,’ he said.
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Protesters had already gathered outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Saturday
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Texas State Troopers guarded the state capitol after the small group of armed protesters arrived
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Martin Holsome speaks to a small group of protesters outside the Texas state capitol on Saturday morning as he speaks about his intention to run against the state’s current governer Gregg Abbott
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Several of the protesters were heavily armed and wore protection vests
SALEM, OREGON: Workers cover ground floor windows with plywood at the state Capitol building on Saturday
SALEM, OREGON: A fence has been set up around the state capitol as the National Guard were called in
SALEM, OREGON: California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin have all called in their National Guard so far. Oregon is also boarding up the state capitol in preparation, as pictured
The spokesperson said they did ‘not want to be involved with law enforcement’ but that they had been ‘doxxed’, referring to the harrassment tactic in which a person’s priavte and personal information is posted on the internet by strangers.
‘I no longer have that option. I was doxxed, and now I either comply or I go to prison,’ he claimed.
The Tree of Liberty site has since been taken down after the Canadian company that was hosting its servers decided to pull the plug on Wednesday.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Boogaloo Boys are ‘primarily anti-government, anti-authority and anti-police in nature’.
Its members are radical pro-gun advocates who embrace the idea of a second American Civil War — which they call the boogaloo, taken from the 1984 film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.
The ADL states that its members have taken part in ‘rallies around gun rights, pandemic restrictions and police-related killings’ since 2019.
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said on Friday that while his state had not received any specific threats he was beefing up security around the Capitol in Springfield, including adding about 250 state National Guards troops
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: Signs stating that Illinois law prohibits open carry of firearms ahead of a potential armed rally
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS: Workers continue to place plywood over the first floor windows at the Illinois State Capito
In December 2020, the Justice Department also described the movement as a ‘loosely-connected group of individuals who espouse violent anti-government sentiments’.
The statement was made as part of a press release announcing a plea deal taken by a Boogaloo member who had pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorist group Hamas.
Another Boogaloo Boy has been charged in that case but pleaded not guilty.
A long list of members of the group have been charged with a litany of violent offences, including murder, attempted murder and opening fire on police officers.
Over the summer, Facebook took down thousands of accounts linnked to the movement as it accused them of ‘violence against civilians, law enforcement, and government officials and institutions’.
After the Facebook crackdown, the Tree of Liberty website was established with moderators telling users that they could not be targeted by law enforcement as the servers were based in Canada.
‘It seems to be trying to professionalize the movement’s communications,’ Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University in North Carolina who specializes in the online behaviour of extremist groups, told CBC.
MADISON, WISCONSIN: Preparations are being made at and near the State Capitol in Wisconsin as well
MADISON, WISCONSIN: Traffic barriers, as pictured, are being set up to protect against any violence
MADISON, WISCONSIN: Preparations are being made at and near the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, in Friday 2021 in case of violent protests connected to the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris
The Tree of Liberty website previously tried to distance themselves from Trump supporters but still voiced unfounded claims that the election had been rigged and that the January 6 riot had been started by left-wing activists.
According to CBC, some members of the group view it as a means to start a race war yet other members caused surprise during the summer by attending Black Lives Matter protests.
‘Because they are so ideologically fluid, they are able to attract a wider range of extremists,’ said Alex Friedfeld, a researcher of extremist groups with the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, claiming it is the prospect of violence rather than ideas that attract its members.
U.S. law enforcement officials are gearing up for pro-Trump marches in all 50 state capitals this weekend, erecting barriers and calling in their National Guards to try to prevent the kind of violent attack that rattled the nation on January 6.
In D.C., the number of National Guard troops is now more than three times those in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin have all called in their National Guard so far.
New Mexico and other states have erected fencing around their Capitols, while Indiana and Michigan have canceled their legislative work next week.
AUSTIN, TEXAS: The National Guard and DPS state troopers and protect the Capitol grounds in Austin
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Texas has closed the state capitol from Saturday until inauguration day amid the threat of violence
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Despite the closure of the state capitol, DPS state troopers and the National Guard are still patrolling
AUSTIN, TEXAS: The National Guard and DPS state troopers and protect the Capitol grounds this week
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a statement late Friday that intelligence indicated ‘violent extremists’ may seek to exploit planned armed protests in Austin to ‘conduct criminal acts’
Experts say that the capitals of battleground states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona are among those at most risk of violence. But even states not seen as likely flashpoints are taking precautions.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said on Friday that while his state had not received any specific threats he was beefing up security around the Capitol in Springfield, including adding about 250 state National Guards troops.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a statement late Friday that intelligence indicated ‘violent extremists’ may seek to exploit planned armed protests in Austin to ‘conduct criminal acts’ as the Capitol was closed Saturday.
Elsewhere in Michigan, a fence was erected around the Capitol building in Lansing and troopers were mobilized from across the state to bolster security. The legislature nevertheless canceled meetings next week, citing concern over credible threats.
‘We are prepared for the worst but we remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate at our Capitol do so peacefully,’ Michigan State Police Director Joe Gasper told a news conference on Friday.
And in California, 1,000 Guardsmen have been deployed to Sacramento to ‘prepare for and respond to credible threats’.
The inauguration is being held at the same spot at the US Capitol where the violent MAGA mob rioters overran law enforcement last week and stormed the federal building.
BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA: North Dakota National Guard soldiers from the 816th Military Police Company load a transport aircraft, en route to help assist in the security of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden
The National Guard has been called in to help protect against further violence following the January 6 violence
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