Oklahoma governor activates National Guard for state Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — About 75 members of the Oklahoma National Guard are being activated to help protect the state Capitol in case potential protests turn violent, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Friday.

Stitt activated the troops following a request by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which is responsible for Capitol security. The governor’s office said no specific, credible threats have been identified in Oklahoma, but the FBI has warned of armed rallies in Washington and at all 50 state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. The Oklahoma troops will be activated from Saturday through Thursday.

“I support the right for Oklahomans to peacefully demonstrate, but we will not tolerate violence or damage to property,” Stitt said in a statement.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Brian Orr said he is not aware of any specific plans for large gatherings at the Capitol this weekend, but said the agency is planning to ramp up the number of officers there and at other state buildings through at least the start of the legislative session on Feb. 1. He said the Capitol will remain “open for business" and that there are no plans to erect barriers or fencing outside the building.

“We’re hoping there aren’t going to be any issues, but if there are, our guys are well trained," Orr said. “If you have any plans to come up here and get out of line, please don’t."

About 1,000 supporters of President Donald Trump rallied at the Oklahoma Capitol last week on the same day a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, but the Oklahoma rally was mostly peaceful.

The organizers of the Oklahoma event canceled a planned second rally at the state Capitol this weekend, and one of the state's largest pro-firearms group, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, has urged their members to stay away from the building.

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