Law enforcement is on high alert in Florida’s capital city amid concerns about any possible protests leading up to Wednesday’s inauguration day.
Florida National Guard members were expected to arrive at the Capitol building in Tallahassee, called into action after reports of potential armed disruptions being planned before President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn into office.
“I don’t mean to sound sarcastic or flippant by saying this, but with what we’ve seen I would advise anyone who is seeing this to stay away from the capital,” State Senator Jason Pizzo, a Democrat from Miami-Dade County, said in a video posted online.
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Security was in place after a Florida man, Daniel Baker, was arrested on charges stemming from social media posts detailing armed protests planned for both Sunday and this coming Wednesday at the Capitol.
Pizzo said he was advised by state officials to work from home this weekend, while Leon County has closed all government buildings amid growing concerns.
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey told media members Sunday that no specific threat had been made toward Florida's Capitol building and hopes the state's declaration of emergency played a role in keeping things calm so far.
"Let us not forget that we live in the era of a global pandemic and we are doing our best to keep everyone healthy," Dailey said. "But, at the same time, we are very well aware of the tensions in American society. Everyone is on edge and there are people that don't have the best intentions to our state capitol."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard Friday "in response to possible protests.” DeSantis's emergency order took effect immediately, and will remain in place until January 24, "or such time as the assistance to State and local government authorities is complete."
Shortly after the siege at the Capitol, DeSantis spoke out warning that unruly protests and rioting would not be tolerated in Florida.
"What you saw yesterday was a good example of taking a rally and having certain views, and then going in to storm the Capitol like was done was totally unacceptable, and I think those folks need to be held accountable," DeSantis said.
"It doesn’t matter what banner you are flying under, the violence is wrong, the rioting and disorder is wrong, we are not going to tolerate it in Florida."