A handful of armed protesters affiliated with right-wing militias began gathering outside the Michigan statehouse in Lansing on Sunday, according to reports.
About 20 protesters, including members of the anti-government boogaloo movement, began to gather outside the state capitol shortly after noon — with the crowd expected to grow, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The planned demonstration to protest President Trump’s re-election loss comes amid heavily heightened security in Lansing in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege of the US Capitol.
The FBI has warned of possible assaults on all 50 state capitols when former Vice President Joe Biden is sworn into office on Wednesday.
Police in the Michigan capital said they are prepared to handle crowds of up to 5,000 protesters, the Free Press said.
“We want to make this a safe environment for people to come down here to express their constitutional rights,” Michigan State Police Lt. Brian Oleksyk told the newspaper.
“But we are prepared to protect this building as well as the people that are here,” Oleksyk said. “We’re not going to tolerate any type of violence, any type of destruction of property, any assault to police officers (or) other people here expressing their constitutional rights, as well as the media.”
Authorities said a local militia group called the Southeast Michigan Militia had announced its intensions to protest Sunday but later backed off, the paper said.
By early afternoon the protesters in Lansing remained peaceful, with one wearing a t-shirt that read, “Patriot. Not racist. Not terrorist,” and hold an “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.
One armed Trump supporter from Port Huron told the outlet that that “not all Trump supporters act” like the US Capitol rioters.
Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.