Denver police monitoring efforts to organize protests ahead of Inauguration Day – The Denver Post

The police who guard the Colorado Capitol and its vicinity say they are prepared for protests after the FBI warned of plans for armed demonstrations in all 50 state capitals in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, though local law enforcement would not provide details on how they are preparing.

Denver police said they are aware of efforts to organize two possible protests in the city over the coming week.

“Due to the sensitivity and potential safety concerns, we do not identify specific events, groups, organizers, etc. in regards to protests, marches, assemblies,” Denver police spokesman Jay Casillas said Monday. “Similarly, we do not discuss in detail our plans for responding to demonstrations/protests as that could jeopardize public and officer safety.”

The FBI issued the warning to local law enforcement agencies after a mob of people attending a rally for President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., overtook the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers working to certify the 2020 election results to flee. At least five people — including a police officer and a member of the mob who was killed by law enforcement — died in or after the riot.

The Colorado State Patrol, which oversees security at the Capitol, is monitoring for potential events planned in Denver but a spokesman declined to discuss any changes being made in preparation.

“We typically don’t share tactical changes,” spokesman Trooper Josh Lewis said, citing security concerns.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, told reporters Monday that the possibility of armed protest is of concern.

“State Patrol is planning for worst-case scenarios, hoping it doesn’t happen,” he said. “We don’t have any information that anything like what happened in D.C. is going to happen at the Colorado Capitol.”

An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said.

“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.

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters Monday that the Guard is also looking at any issues across the country.

“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested,” he said.

The riots followed weeks of online calls for violence in Washington in the waning days of Trump’s presidency.

A tweet in which Trump promised that last Wednesday’s event “will be wild” fueled a “month-long frenzy of incitements, strategizing, and embrace of violence against lawmakers,” according to a research group that tracks online extremism activity, In a report issued Saturday, the SITE Intelligence Group also warns that the Capitol attack has emboldened Trump-supporting extremists.

“No matter how all this plays out, its only the beginning,” posted a user on TheDonald message board, according to the report.

Denver Post reporter Alex Burness and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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