OLYMPIA, Wash. — Security remains high at state capitols across the country due to concerns about right-wing extremists.
It was less tense in Olympia on Sunday than just a week ago. Then the concern was the legislative session was set to begin Monday.
But the fence and the guards are still here, with concerns having shifted to the presidential inauguration and what might happen here then.
Perhaps they should have, but most visitors to the state Capitol on this overcast Sunday weren’t expecting a huge National Guard contingent and fencing to support the state troopers from across Washington who are here to protect the Capitol.
“Well, I haven’t seen any trouble or anything here,” said Ritae Wallace of Yelm. “I think it’s just a precaution to make sure our Capitol is protected.”
“It’s kind of eerie,” said Kevin Downey, Olympia. “I’ve always liked to going up, walking past the governor’s mansion and up and around the Capitol. So it’s really eerie seeing all the fencing and the troopers around.”
Extra security was ordered here after a mob broke through the fence to the governor’s mansion. Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudy Inslee, were inside during the incident. They were not harmed.
But this incursion came just hours after an insurrection at the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Then state capitals across the country began receiving threats.
“If the week’s word was calm, then today’s word is hope,” said Washington State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis. “We’re hopeful that this calm will last.”
Loftis said despite the violence 11 days ago, troopers have made only two arrests. Both arrests were last Monday during the opening of the 2021 legislative session.
Security, he said, will remain high at least through this week.
“This is not a ‘light switch’ event,” said Loftis. “This is not a place where, at a certain point, we all know this is over, and there’s no more danger.”
Justin Time, visiting from Bellevue, said that day can’t come too soon.
“I think it’s a little bit, how shall I say, overkill,” he said. “Oh, definitely.”
That may be. But security is likely to remain high for at least several more days.
As it happens, a right-wing protest that was set for today never materialized.
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