Governor Tim Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard to support state and local law enforcement amid concerns over possible extremist violence in St. Paul over the coming week.
The governor has taken the step following reports that the FBI has received "credible threats" of right-wing, anti-government violence being planned at the Minnesota State Capitol this weekend, with the "Boogaloo" movement said to be involved.
It also comes a week after the violent insurrection seen at the U.S. Capitol, which saw supporters of President Donald Trump seek to overturn Joe Biden's election win.
The FBI has warned that all 50 state capitol buildings could be the scene of protests in the lead-up to Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, which have the potential to turn violent.
"We will always support Minnesotans’ First Amendment rights to peacefully protest, but anyone involved in violent, illegal activity will be held accountable,” said Governor Walz. “We are tracking reports and monitoring the situation closely to enhance our response and change tactics as needed.”
On Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported that the reported threat from the Boogaloo movement comes after its members had attended rallies at the Minnesota State Capitol in December "to identify escape points and defensible positions in the event violence occurred."
They also scouted general law enforcement presence, with one of them suggesting that "the building with the snipers would need to be blown up" in the event of a shootout with law enforcement, the Star Tribune said, citing the report.
Enhanced protections have been put in place at the Capitol, with local police and the State Patrol expected to maintain a significant presence there over the coming days.
Walz was criticized for waiting to activate the National Guard last May as what started out as protests after the death of George Floyd devolved into rioting over several nights.
Since then, he has deployed the guard quickly on several occasions in response to unrest or the possibility of unrest.