Many downtown Raleigh offices, museums closed for Inauguration Day
Posted January 17, 2021 12:41 p.m. EST
Updated January 20, 2021 5:52 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — As a precaution, state museums, government offices and other buildings were closed Wednesday for Inauguration Day, and some downtown Raleigh businesses boarded up their storefronts.
Following a Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI warned of armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day and in the days leading up to it. Although an armed protest isn't confirmed in Raleigh, fliers distributed on social media sites suggest there could be violent activity.
On Sunday, several hundred officers from numerous law enforcement agencies were guarding buildings and patrolling streets in Raleigh in anticipation of armed marches, but only a handful of people showed up and protested peacefully.
"We believed today was going to kind of give us an idea of what to expect for the rest of the week, and if that is the case, then I think we are all going to be okay, thank God," said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker on Sunday.
More officers are expected to patrol downtown Raleigh on Wednesday as President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
"It's better to be prepared than not," said Baker.
As a precaution, dozens of officers surrounded downtown buildings, including the North Carolina State Capitol and the Wake County Justice Center, as early as 11 a.m. on Sunday. Officers in PERT (Prison Emergency Response Team) vests and uniforms were stationed downtown to help in the response along with a “BearCat” armored vehicle designed for military to use in armed standoff situations.
Gov. Roy Cooper has mobilized hundreds of members of the North Carolina National Guards to provide security in both Raleigh and the nation's capital.
About 350 guardsmen will serve in support of local law enforcement in North Carolina, and hundreds more will be sent to Washington, D.C.
“Ongoing security concerns in Washington, D.C., and state capitals around the nation following last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol must be taken seriously, and I will deploy necessary resources to keep North Carolinians safe," Cooper said.