MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers on Monday activated the Wisconsin National Guard to protect the state Capitol building and ordered the building’s ground-floor windows boarded up after federal investigators revealed “armed protests” were being planned at statehouses across the country to oppose the inauguration of Joe Biden as president.
The Evers administration authorized the National Guard to back up Wisconsin State Capitol police and took the “proactive cautionary” measure of boarding up the statehouse’s windows after thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump converged on the U.S. Capitol last week to oppose the results of the Nov. 6 election, a breach that resulted in five deaths, injuries to police officers, and significant damage to the building.
Guard members will serve in a support role to local authorities and conduct a site security mission, according to the Evers administration.
“Once again, our state has asked our Citizen Soldiers in the Wisconsin National Guard to answer the call to keep our state, its citizens, and its institutions safe,” Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, said in a statement.
The move came after an internal Federal Bureau of Investigation bulletin obtained by ABC News on Monday showed armed protesters planned to arrive at every state capitol in the country in the coming days.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said.
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Kaul said the state Department of Justice is “monitoring” the situation.
The FBI has received information in recent days on a group calling for “storming” state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day, according to ABC News.
The group is also planning to “storm” government offices in every state the day Biden will be inaugurated, regardless of whether the state certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump.
Gillian Drummond, spokeswoman for Kaul, did not answer whether the FBI has contacted the state DOJ about a potential threat or risk of armed conflict at the state Capitol in Madison.
Federal law enforcement officials have advised police agencies to increase security at statehouses, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
The state Capitol is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. Firearms are allowed on Capitol grounds.
Aides to Gov. Tony Evers, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos did not respond to whether they have discussed changing rules related to firearms at the Capitol in light of the FBI bulletin.