Gov. Cooper, N.C. leaders prepare after FBI warns of nationwide protests at state capitols

Gov. Cooper, N.C. leaders prepare after FBI warns of nationwide protests at state capitols
(Source: Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - After the FBI warned of plans for armed protests at 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration, North Carolina officials are making sure security is being ramped up.

According to The Associated Press, an internal FBI bulletin warned, as of Sunday, that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says state officials are preparing for any possibility of violence at North Carolina’s capitol building.

“There is a concern about potential threats of violence, or threats that are already out there,” Cooper said. “Our Secretary of the Department of Public Safety has been coordinating with local and federal officials.”

N.C. Secretary of Department of Public Safety Eric Hooks says he has been in constant talks with state and local law enforcement.

He said he also spoke with the special agent in charge with the FBI.

“We want to make sure we maintain a high level of vigilance, that we are well partnered and that we are ready to address any threat,” Hooks said.

Investigators believe some of the people are members of extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.

“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The FBI issued at least one other bulletin — they go out to law enforcement nationwide on the topic — before the riots last week. On Dec. 29, it warned of the potential for armed demonstrators targeting legislatures, the second official said.

The Capitol in Washington, D.C. went on lockdown on Wednesday, Jan. 6 after protesters stampeded the building to protest Biden being confirmed as President-elect.

Trump supporters marched to the Capitol after listening to President Trump speak.

Dozens were arrested, and many breached inside the Capitol.

“A few days ago, our country endured a violent attack on our nation’s Capitol, the seat of our democracy,” Cooper said. “It left death and destruction, along with threats by some of more to come. This assault on our democracy was the result of dangerous rhetoric, lies and disinformation.”

Cooper has publicly condemned the actions of the protesters.

“Words matter,” Cooper said. “People listen to leaders and often follow their calls and imitate their actions. As the death toll from this pandemic continues to increase, our leaders must listen to science, focus on the facts, and tell the truth with their words and the examples that they set.”

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