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Walz to hold press conference on Minnesota State Capitol safety concerns

This comes amid ongoing threats to state Capitols across the country.
Tim Walz

Ahead of a weekend of protests planned across the country, Gov. Tim Walz on Friday will discuss safety at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. 

According to a news release, Walz will hold a press conference to provide an update on security concerns at the state Capitol "following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week and continued threats to state capitols."

Walz will be joined by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, Minnesota National Guard Adj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota State Patrol Chief Col. Matt Langer and St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell.

The press conference will be streamed live on the governor's YouTube page

This news conference comes amid concerns that demonstrations in Minnesota and elsewhere across the country ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20 could turn violent.

The FBI has received "credible threats" of right-wing, anti-government violence, including from the "Boogaloo Bois," being planned at the Minnesota State Capitol on Sunday. It has also been reported that an FBI memo warned "armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols" between Jan. 16 and Jan. 20. 

State and local law enforcement have said they're prepared for the expected and unexpected, while Gov. Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard to support law enforcement in St. Paul if the need arises.

There are two permitted events at the Minnesota State Capitol this weekend, both are hosted by the same person and group who organized the "Storm the Capitol" rally at the state Capitol on Jan. 6, which was peaceful but did feature speakers who called for violence, civil war and casualties.

The rhetoric used was apparently so threatening that the Minnesota State Patrol – for the first time in history – went into the governor's residence and removed Walz's 14-year-old son to a safe place while he cried wondering where his dog was, Walz said during the virtual event hosted by the Forum News Service on Monday. 

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The organizer of the two Capitol events has said they will be peaceful. The group has been hosting "Stop the Steal" rallies at the Capitol every Saturday since Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. 

Republicans and Democrats in Minnesota are calling for peace ahead of Biden's inauguration. For the past few days, Gov. Walz has traveled to historical sites around the state, calling for reflection, civility and peace, while calling on Minnesotans to come together to restore democracy for all. 

Meanwhile, the Minnesota History Center, located at the Capitol Complex in St. Paul, said Friday it will be closed this weekend "due to concerns over public safety in light of planned protests at the State Capitol grounds," noting it made this decision in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the State Patrol.

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