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Whitmer administration, law enforcement prepare for demonstration at State Capitol

The Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan as seen during the winter.
The Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan as seen during the winter.(WILX)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 4:14 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The State Capitol in Lansing is being boarded up and the Michigan National Guard called in ahead of protests planned over the weekend.

“Michigan has been an epicenter for some pretty dangerous and destructive demonstrations here and so we certainly would not like to see that be repeated. But the state of Michigan is prepared,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

Last week’s riot and invasion at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. was a frightening reminder of the dangerous turn an event this can take.

“Well certainly, I was troubled by what we saw at the Capitol in the United States, really seeing people, when it appeared to me was really threatening a symbol of democracy itself with the U.S. Capitol going in there and I think being dangerous and disrespectful to the democratic institution. I certainly don’t want to see that happen here,” Gilchrist said.

The Michigan National Guard is being deployed to Lansing, along with increased presence from Michigan State Police, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Lansing Police Department. A fence is also being set up around the Capitol building.

“Now well I understand that if the FBI say that there are credible threats that we need to be concerned about that are not even happening in Michigan, but also happening in other states, and you need to take that very seriously,” Gilchrist said.

Law enforcement officials asked people to stay away from the Capitol area if possible.

“We hope that people will use good judgment and will not put themselves or anyone else in danger,” Gilchrist said. “Some people want to demonstrate because of their frustration, but rather than being frustrated about what has happened in the past with the election or whatever people are complaining about, I think we need to think about what we can build together.”

He also addressed whether he was concerned about his own safety as an elected official.

“I trust the professionals to be able to do the right thing and so I’m going to continue to do my best to serve the people of Michigan to the best of my ability,” Gilchrist said. “The governor shares that ethos here in terms of how we’re going to work and I think our legislative colleagues, we’re all just trying to do our jobs for the people who sent us to do those jobs, and I’m going to continue to focus on that.”

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