TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With extra law enforcement on standby, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday there remains no indication of potentially violent protesters arriving at the state Capitol to mark President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
"We have more law enforcement at the state Capitol. I don't think anyone showed up at the state Capitol all week. Maybe someone will come tomorrow. I don't know," DeSantis told reporters during an appearance in Cape Coral on Tuesday. "So, we've basically heeded some of those warnings. But I can tell you nothing's materialized so far."
On Friday, DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard to assist state and local law enforcement, in response to an FBI warning of potentially violent protests in state capitals in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Contrary to expectations that protesters would gather outside of the Florida Capitol on Sunday and Monday, the scene was relatively quiet. State and local law enforcement officers could be seen in doorways and on the rooftop of the Capitol building, along with adjacent House and Senate office buildings. A helicopter circled the grounds.
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said Sunday the city would remain on alert in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.
"I can tell you that we are prepared and we will continue (to be) for as long as we need to be," Dailey told reporters Sunday afternoon at a park not far from the Capitol.
Dailey didn’t give details of the law enforcement plans, however.
"You know, we have a rich tradition here in Tallahassee about holding people's right to gather peacefully," Dailey continued. "But let me be clear, we have zero tolerance for any violence or destruction of any property in Tallahassee."
Dailey expressed alarm over federal prosecutors’ arrest on Friday of Daniel Baker, a Tallahassee resident who is alleged to have called for others to join him in encircling protesters and "confining them at the Capitol complex" using firearms.
"That just puts us that much more on notice," the mayor said Sunday. Baker's arrest "brought it home that's in our backyard," Dailey said. "That takes it to another level to make sure that we're prepared to keep everyone safe," he added.
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