State capitols have boarded up, fenced off across the country—but not in Indianapolis

The Indiana Statehouse from Capitol Avenue. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

A double row of chain-link fencing circles the Arizona State Capitol. Windows on the Illinois and Ohio statehouses have been boarded up. National Guard troops in camouflage and flak jackets and heavily armed state troopers were stationed at state capitals across the U.S. in advance of protests planned for Sunday.

With the FBI warning of potential for violence at all state capitols, the ornate halls of government and symbols of democracy looked more like heavily guarded U.S. embassies in war-torn countries.

But in Indianapolis there was little sign of outward concern about protests at the Indiana Statehouse.

On Saturday, there was no apparent National Guard presence around the building. And there were no barricades, save metal posts that can be raised out of the concrete to block the streets through the complex that makes up the Statehouse and two state office buildings.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced on Friday that the complex will be closed next through Wednesday “to err on the side of caution” with protests planned. Officials said there had been no specific threat related to Indiana.

Other governors have also closed their capitols to the public, but many have additionally declared emergencies and called up troops ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

They are trying to avoid a repeat of the mob rioting that occurred Jan. 6, when supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, leaving a Capitol Police officer and four others dead.

Details were vague, but demonstrations were expected at state capitols beginning Sunday and leading up to Biden taking the oath of the office Wednesday.

These posts are installed under the streets at the state office complex downtown and can be raised when needed for security. They were the only signs of barriers at and around the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

Signs of ramped-up security were in abundance from Atlanta to Sacramento, California, throughout the week.

SWAT officers stood guard at the Georgia State Capitol. A bomb-detecting dog sniffed its way through the capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. State troopers were poised on the roof of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, where military vehicles surrounded the block. Sections of temporary fencing that encircled many state capitols were locked together in Sacramento with handcuffs.

National Guard troops patrolled the California Capitol and streets of downtown Sacramento on Saturday.

In Indiana, officials said they acted after consulting with state public safety officials, including Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston have canceled all legislative activity for the week. Bray and Huston said no committee or session meetings will be held next week, and staff will work remotely until instructed to return to the building.

Holcomb’s office said he would virtually deliver his 2021 State of the State address on Tuesday.

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