Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

State capitols go on high alert

Donald Trump supporters march around the Michigan State Capitol Building to protest the certification of Joe Biden as the next president.

Trump supporters march around the Michigan State Capitol Building in protest. Photo: Matthew Hatcher via Getty Images

Statehouses have beefed up security, closed to the public and asked state employees to work from home, multiple state officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Unrest broke out in several state capitals on Wednesday, but even places with peaceful protests have been forced to take extra precaution in the waning days of Trump's presidency.

  • New Mexico, Oregon and California saw some of the most aggressive actions from protestors on Wednesday. New Mexico's lawmakers were forced to evacuate and meet virtually, 11 Sacramento protestors were arrested and an unlawful assembly was declared in Salem.
  • On Thursday, the Michigan State House had to be evacuated for two hours because of a bomb threat.

Driving the news: States are continuing to take security precautions after Wednesday's multi-state disorder. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu canceled his in-person swearing in ceremony originally scheduled Thursday, in part because of protests.

  • Arizona state employees were told to work remotely Thursday, and despite peaceful protests so far, fences have been erected at the capitol building.
  • New Mexico's state capitol was closed to the public Thursday, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.
  • Minnesota and Maryland Statehouses are among many beefing up security, according to state officials.

Between the lines: For some states, increased security measures are not new given the pandemic and ongoing unrest over police killings and coronavirus-related orders in the past year.

  • The state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, for example, has been fenced off since last May, and work at the capitol has already been largely remote, according to Axios Minneapolis reporter Torey Van Oot.
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