FBI, police on alert for planned rallies and protests as President Trump leaves office

“… any attempt to try and intimidate or threats of violence will not be accepted or tolerated.”

NEW ORLEANS — The FBI is warning that groups are calling for the “storming” of state capitol buildings and courthouses across the country.

This, if President Donald Trump is removed from office before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. 

Groups are asking participants to come armed at their own discretion, according to the FBI’s alert. 

There is a planned demonstration at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge on Sunday.

According to the Louisiana State Police, “LSP will have personnel in place to ensure a safe environment and to protect the rights of our citizens to hold a peaceful gathering.”  

New Orleans State Representative Royce Duplessis is vice chair of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee which has oversight of the capitol building. 

“It is my understanding after talking with both the governor’s office, as well as our sergeant at arms that all measures are being put in place so that we won’t be in a situation where we won’t be able to protect ourselves,” Duplessis said. 

According to the FBI, the agency “is aware of the armed call to action protest scheduled at the Louisiana State Capitol, we remain steadfast in our mission to protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution. We also respect those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights, including the right to peacefully protest.”  

Trump supporters have been gathering at the Louisiana Capitol for weeks, usually on Saturdays. So far, all demonstrations there have been peaceful. 

“Our hope is that these protests will remain peaceful where people can come and express their view, but any attempt to try and intimidate or threats of violence will not be accepted or tolerated,” Duplessis said. 

The FBI warning is stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

New Orleans Communications Director Beau Tidwell said the city is aware and concerned about the potential for violent protests.    

“As of right now, we are not aware of any specific threat to New Orleans,” Tidwell said. “That said, Col. Ebbert (Director of Public Safety) and his team are continuing to monitor very closely and are ready to respond if needed.” 

New Orleans Police said the department is in communication with federal partners and will follow their lead, providing any assistance, if necessary. 

Here is the full Louisiana State Police statement: 

“Louisiana State Police is aware of the planned protests at the State Capitol and is working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to coordinate security protocols.  As with previous protest events across the state, the Louisiana State Analytical & Fusion Exchange continually monitors potential security concerns and will be providing pertinent information to our public safety personnel to ensure safety for protesters, Capitol grounds and staff, and the surrounding community. 

In coordination with Capitol staff and the Department of Public Safety Police, LSP will have personnel in place to ensure a safe environment and to protect the rights of our citizens to hold a peaceful gathering. We will not be able to provide specific information regarding protest security measures and cannot comment on the security protocols concerning the Governor’s Mansion and Louisiana State Capitol.” 

Here is the full FBI statement:  

“The FBI is aware of the armed call to action protest scheduled at the Louisiana State Capitol, we remain steadfast in our mission to protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution. We also respect those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights, including the right to peacefully protest. The FBI New Orleans Field Office is in daily contact with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to maintain public safety in the communities we serve. Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity. Destruction and rioting of city, state and federal property will not be tolerated. The FBI along with our partners are here to protect the public from any threats, including those who intentionally want to incite violence and prevent others from peacefully expressing their First Amendment rights.”

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