ALBANY — State police presence at New York’s Capitol increased Tuesday and additional barriers were placed around the statehouse in preparation for possible protests in the week leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
Loader machines moved bundles of metal barricades Tuesday afternoon and troopers carried division-issued rifles while they patrolled the perimeter of the downtown building.
State police are exercising an “abundance of caution” after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, according to Beau Duffy, spokesman for the New York State Police. State police are responsible for security at the capitol and the legislative office building, and routinely work with the Albany Police Department when protests are scheduled at the capitol, Duffy said.
“[We are] aware of reports regarding possible protests ahead of the inauguration,” Duffy said in a prepared statement. “We have been in touch with our federal and local law enforcement partners and will be monitoring the situation. Given recent events in Washington and across the country, the New York State Police has, out of an abundance of caution, taken steps to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany. These restrictions are in place until further notice.”
The decision to increase security at the Capitol follows last Wednesday’s insurrection by President Donald Trump supporters in Washington and the FBI’s recently issued bulletin warning of armed protests planned for all 50 state capitols in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.
Other states have or are planning to increase security around their respective state capitols, too. In Michigan, a state commission voted to ban open-carry weapons in the Capitol building. And in Oregon, state police conducted building security training for Capitol workers, starting on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
While state police declined to provide “specific deployment numbers” because doing so would pose a security risk, Duffy said that last week’s stabbing outside of East Capitol Park in Albany did not influence the decision to tighten security.
Wednesday, the activist group, All of Us and other community action groups are scheduled to meet at East Capitol Park to stand against white supremacy and police brutality. Another group, the Coalition of Capital Region progressives, will operate a “Peaceful Car Caravan” on South Pearl Street that is expected to move through downtown Albany and past the offices of U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. That group is supporting democracy reform.
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