Armed demonstrators assembled outside the capitols of several states on Sunday, as all 50 states and Washington, DC braced for possible violence ahead of Inauguration Day — but the events were muted and devoid of violence.
In Columbus, Ohio, about 50 supporters of President Trump — some bearing assault rifles and other firearms — escorted a “Liberty or Death” flag to the statehouse around 11 a.m., according to USA Today.
The group was met by counter-protesters, at least one of whom carried a Black Lives Matter flag, according to local outlet WBNS.
But no violence or arrests were reported, and most attendees had departed by 2:30 p.m.
About 200 miles away in Lansing, Michigan, a handful of gun-toting demonstrators affiliated with various right-wing and anarchist militias rallied outside the statehouse, according to The Detroit Free Press.
But that event was even more sparsely attended than the Ohio demonstration, with only about 20 people showing up, the paper reported.
By 4 p.m., there were no reports of violence or arrests — and cops on guard were packing up their riot gear, according to the Free Press.
At the Texas Capitol in Austin, around 100 protesters showed up. One, carrying an AR-15 rifle, condemned those who stormed the US Capitol in DC.
“All we came down here to do today was to discuss, gather, network and hang out. And it got blown and twisted completely out of proportion,” said Ben Hawk.
And in the Oregon capital of Salem, around a dozen men in black — and some in Hawaiian shirts, the preferred attire of the far-right “boogaloo” movement — stood outside the statehouse with long guns, the Oregonian reported.
Several state capitals and DC have called in the National Guard to augment security in the days ahead of — and potentially beyond — Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden.
In the Beltway alone, approximately 21,000 National Guard troops are expected to be on hand Wednesday, enforcing a massive perimeter around the US Capitol, where Biden is to be sworn in as president — two weeks to the day after Trump supporters invaded in a deadly attempt to disrupt Congress’ certification of Biden’s win.
With Post wires