Capitol Remains Quiet Amid Fears of Violence

By Will Kenneally

January 17, 2021

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Police outside Capitol

Police stand outside the state Capitol in preparation for possible violence Jan. 17, 2021.

The Wisconsin Capitol was peaceful Sunday as police braced for possible violent demonstrations that never materialized.

The enhanced police presence came in the wake of widespread threats that were reported to target state capitols across the country on Jan. 17.

Fewer than 10 protested peacefully and quietly around the Capitol Sunday, as police barricaded entryways to the building.

This comes as police in Washington stepped-up security ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration, which included a deployment of 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops to aid the more than 20,000 national guard troops deployed to protect the nation’s capital.

Gov. Tony Evers also deployed Wisconsin National Guard troops to help secure the Wisconsin Capitol building, but withheld information on the number of troops deployed and for how long they would be there.

Madison Police acting police chief Vic Wahl said that despite there being the possibility of protesters and counter-protesters converging on the Capitol at noon, “there were no issues.”

Police outside Capitol

Police stand near military vehicles while guarding the state Capitol Jan. 17, 2021.

A “Justice for Jacob Blake” rally that was initially scheduled for earlier Sunday was rescheduled for Monday and moved away from the Capitol grounds to a park on Madison’s near-east side.

Wahl said Madison police will continue to maintain an “enhanced” posture through Inauguration Day next Wednesday.

Marisa Wojcik, Lina Soblytė and Frederica Freyberg contributed to this report. 

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