DeWine sending 700 troops to D.C.; Statehouse to close for 4 days

Gov. DeWine talks security at Ohio Statehouse with looming weekend protests

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that around 700 Ohio National Guard members were activated ahead of a warning by the FBI that armed protests were possible in all 50 states and in Washington D.C. ahead and during Inauguration Day this coming Wednesday.

This number increased from 580 this morning.

DeWine also ordered the closure of the Ohio Statehouse from Sunday through Wednesday. He’s also ordering that other state office buildings in downtown Columbus to close during the same period.

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“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” and FBI bulletin said.

The Governor signed a proclamation this morning activating the National Guard to be used as needed across the state.

The National Guard will be “ensuring that the laws of Ohio are faithfully executed and to assist state and local authorities with protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this state,” DeWine said.

“The sad truth is, there are people in this country that want to turn peaceful protests into violence.” DeWine said. “Their violence will not be tolerated in Ohio.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio National Guard will be out “in force,” DeWine said. Officials said they are prepared for thousands of people if necessary.

Maj. Gen. John Harris said the state will use as many National Guard Members that are necessary. He said upwards of 400 personnel will be able to be used across Ohio as needed.

Harris also said the members sent to assist in Washington D.C. are specially trained in providing security. The Homeland Response Force also was sent to D.C., which is able to do high-level search and rescue missions if needed.

“This is a precaution that’s been requested,” Harris said.