SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday mobilized 1,000 members of the National Guard amid other security precautions over concerns of civil unrest ahead of President Donald Trump leaving office.
The state also erected a temporary chain link fence around the state Capitol, bolstering other temporary and permanent barriers, and the California Highway Patrol has refused to issue permits for rallies that had been planned there.
The moves come as the FBI and others warn of the potential for nationwide civil unrest before or during next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Newsom said Guard members will “protect critical infrastructure” including the state Capitol while other state officials monitor threats and requests for aid around the clock.
“We’re taking important steps here in California in light of what we saw in our nation’s Capitol just last week,” Newsom said, calling it “an undemocratic and unconscionable assault on our republic and the freedom upon which our nation was founded.”
“We will respond to any potential violent civil unrest leading up to or during the inaugural, if required,” he said in a video message. “We’re treating this very seriously and deploying significant resources to protect public safety, critical infrastructure and First Amendment Rights, but let me be clear: there will be no tolerance for violence.”
Oregon, Washington, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among states that also have deployed the National Guard. The Guard also has been placed at the U.S. Capitol, which was attacked and ransacked last week by Trump supporters.
The California state Capitol has largely been locked down for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, but lawmakers have begun meeting there mostly with remote participation from the public. The Capitol has also been the site of weekly weekend clashes between Trump supporters and counter-demonstrators.