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FBI closely watching planned armed protests at Michigan Capitol this weekend

Posted at 5:25 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 05:25:14-05

(WXYZ) — Thousands of National Guard members are being deployed to Washington D.c., with around 21,000 troops set to be in the city for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.


The FBI is warning that armed protesters could be gathering in Lansing as well, one of several state Capitol buildings the FBI is watching especially closely, along with those in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Michigan State Police, Lansing Police, the National Guard, the Ingham County Sheriff's Office and the Detroit FBI Field Office held a virtual update in Lansing on Friday morning.

It comes as fencing is being put up around the entire state capitol ahead of expected protests this weekend.

"We do not intend to remain silent," Michael Lackomar with the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia said.

The group has 200 members, and said the turnout this weekend will be big, and they will be armed.

They are no stranger to the Michigan Capitol, having protested peacefully here before over the election and COVID-19 lockdowns.

The concern now from state, local and federal law enforcement is that demonstrations remain peaceful, unlike last week in Washington D.C., when five people died after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

Earlier this week, the Michigan Capitol Commission did ban the open-carrying of firearms at the Capitol ahead of the protests.

President Donald Trump's impeachment is expected to further motivate some groups to protest, as many are now without social media platforms to organize.

“I have been banned from Facebook, I have been banned from Instagram," Lackomar said.

It's unclear how Twitter and Facebook are purging accounts, and now Parler is effectively in the dark too. That will impact law enforcement's ability to track some of these protests.