Gov. Newsom deploys 1,000 National Guard members ahead of expected Inauguration Day unrest

National News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling in the California National Guard to protect the State Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The governor signed an order Thursday deploying 1,000 National Guard members to secure California’s Capitol building and other state buildings.

“Pursuant to California Military and Veterans Code section 146, I am ordering you to call into Active State Service such forces of the active militia that are needed to support response efforts requested by jurisdictions impacted by civil unrest,” the order reads.

“We’re treating this very seriously and deploying significant resources to protect public safety, critical infrastructure and First Amendment rights,” Newsom said. “But let me be clear, there will be no tolerance for violence.”

Crews at the Capitol spent Thursday putting up a 6-foot chain-link fence around the entire perimeter of the building. The governor said the fence is temporary.

Newsom, along with legislative and law enforcement leaders, have vowed to protect those working and visiting the building following last week’s riot in Washington, D.C.

“Let me be clear, what we witnessed at our nation’s Capitol was an undemocratic and unconscionable assault on our republic and the freedoms upon which our nation was founded,” California’s governor said. “California will take every necessary measure to protect public safety and our democratic principles, and to ensure that those disgraceful actions are not repeated here.”

The governor, state emergency officials and local law enforcement have not pointed to any specific threats, groups or planned protests they’re anticipating.

Officials have not said exactly when the Guard will arrive at the State Capitol.

Monday, FOX40 reported local law enforcement agencies were stepping up their efforts to protect the California Capitol and surrounding area leading up to Inauguration Day after the FBI warned of planned, armed protests at all 50 state capitals and Washington, D.C.

For the past several weeks, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn has sent around 200 officers to the State Capitol every Saturday where there have been weekly demonstrations staged by President Donald Trump supporters contesting the 2020 presidential election results.

Those demonstrators were met by counter-protesters, which led to several clashes between the groups and police, with some turning violent. 

Hahn told FOX40 the Inauguration Day protests could be more dangerous than previous demonstrations.

A joint statement was released Tuesday by California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda Ray, Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security Advisor Mark Ghilarducci and California National Guard Adjutant Gen. David Baldwin:

Our collective agencies are working closely together and remain vigilant to respond to potential threats that may occur anywhere in the state, including the Capitol.  Collectively, we maintain strong relationships with our security and intelligence partners at the local, state, and federal levels and are continually monitoring and sharing information about possible emerging threats to the state. 

Together, our role is to safeguard lives and property and ensure that California remains a safe place for those who live, work, and travel within the state while ensuring the ability of individuals and groups to lawfully exercise their First Amendment rights.

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