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Heavy law enforcement present at state Capitol as threat of protesters looms

State Capitol
Posted at 12:22 PM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-17 16:46:41-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida National Guard was activated by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday night after a plea from Tallahassee mayor John Dailey to please send troops to protect the state Capitol and the capital city earlier that same day.

A spokesperson for the Florida National Guard told ABC 27 that troops would be in Tallahassee by Sunday, and that they would stay as long as needed.

All of this law enforcement preparation stems from an FBI warning to all state Capitols of possible violent protests, and also a Tallahassee man was arrested for issuing a 'call to arms' to 'violently confront' protesters at the Florida Capitol on Friday.

4:20 p.m. Update: A group of protesters, who consider themselves to be neither left or right, have started marching around the Capitol. Some can be seen with what looks like Kevlar vests on.

2 p.m. Update: The Tallahassee Police Department has released a statement regarding the protection around the Capitol complex.

1:50 p.m. Update: There is still no reporting sightings of the Florida National Guard at or near the Capitol, and one person has shown up with a sign that says, "Spead the Love."

Law enforcement has also been seen on top of roofs around the Capitol complex, watching over the area.

1:15 p.m. Update: Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey held a press conference in downtown Tallahassee in which he thanked law enforcement officers for showing up to protect the Capitol.

The mayor did not give a reason why Florida National Guard troops were not visible around the Capitol, but did say he was thankful that it was a peaceful day.

"I hope nothing happens, I hope that we continue to have the peaceful days in Tallahassee that we always do and that we enjoy," said Dailey. "But hope alone is not a plan, we are prepared."

No protesters have shown up to the Capitol, with the only people there being law enforcement, joggers and some tourists.

12:20 p.m. Update: The law enforcement presence surrounding the Florida Capitol Building in downtown Tallahassee has been steadily growing for most of Sunday morning and into the afternoon, with no protesters showing up as of now.

Currently, there is no sign of the Florida National Guard troops that were supposed to be in Tallahassee by Sunday.

Multiple Florida Highway Patrol cruisers were seen on Apalachee Parkway going towards the Capitol around 11:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

The intersection at Calhoun Street and Pensacola Street near the Capitol and Leon County Courthouse is currently shut down by Leon County Sheriff's deputies.

Some businesses have even board up their windows, such as the Exchange Bank Building in downtown Tallahassee.

This is a developing story. Stay with us for further updates.