The state Capitol and the grounds surrounding it will be closed through Wednesday due to "armed protests" planned ahead of Inauguration Day, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The FBI on Monday sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning of possible armed protests at all 50 state Capitols starting Saturday.
While the memo discusses possible threats discussed by online actors for Jan. 16 through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, it doesn’t mean that law enforcement agencies expect violent mass protests or confrontations in every state, NBC News reported.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Already dozens of state troopers are standing guard around the Texas Capitol complex in a level of security rarely seen.
"The Texas Department of Public Safety is aware of armed protests planned at the Texas State Capitol this week and violent extremists who may seek to exploit constitutionally protected events to conduct criminal acts," Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said. "As a result, DPS has deployed additional personnel and resources to the Capitol and are working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Austin Police Department to monitor events and enforce the rule of law."
Longtime lawmakers who have returned home for the weekend said they’d never seen anything like the precautions now in place following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
"It's disappointing. It hurts,” Rep. Ramon Romero (D_Fort Worth) said. “Those are real threats in DC. There's going to be a real price for them to pay. I'd tell any Texan who thinks they're going to do that here in Austin, better think twice."
In North Texas alone, the FBI has arrested at least two people in connection to the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The bureau arrested Larry Brock, of Grapevine, on Sunday and Jenna Ryan, of Frisco, on Friday.
People are encouraged to report suspicious activity they see on the internet or in public to the FBI, the Austin Police Department, or the Texas Department of Public Safety at iwatchtx.org.