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Bracing for security threats, federal courthouses closing in Minnesota

Security is also being ramped up at the state capitol.

Following the riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., officials in Minnesota are preparing for the possibility of more violence ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

In a Friday news release, the U.S. District Court of Minnesota announced it will temporarily shut down the federal courts located in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Fergus Falls and Duluth. 

The closure will go into effect at midnight on Sunday, and is scheduled to be lifted on Thursday, January 21, at 5:00 a.m. Biden will be sworn in as president at noon the day before. 

According to the release, the lockdowns will be especially tight at the U.S. courthouses in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Fergus Falls, with access barred to "all persons" — including judiciary staff and building tenants. This will also affect the bankruptcy, probation and pretrial courts.

Officials say the closures come amid "security threats made against federal buildings and courthouses in the District of Minnesota," but no further details about such threats have been released.

Similar measures are being taken at the state capitol in St. Paul, with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety pledging to "keep the peace in the days that lead up to the inauguration in D.C.":

"We are asking Minnesotans who do not have any planned activity or business at the Capitol to consider visiting at another time," the department said in a Facebook post.

The Minnesota History Center — which is located near the capitol building — will also be closed this weekend, "for the safety of our visitors and staff."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service is temporarily moving four mailboxes in the area "due to possible civil event." You can view the four locations right here. 

Minnesota is hardly alone in taking precautionary measures against further political violence. As Vox notes, preparations are underway across the country, with all 50 state capitals imposing security measures in case of insurrection. 

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However on Friday, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jon Harrington said there are no known credible threats currently towards the Capitol or other locations in the Twin Cities.

There are two events scheduled at the Minnesota State Capitol Complex – a "Freedom Fest" and a "Sunday Church Service."

Both events are hosted by the same group that organized the "Storm the Capitol" rally in St. Paul on Jan. 6, according to the Minnesota Department of Administration's calendar and the approved permit applications for the events obtained by Bring Me The News. 

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