ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX47) — Gov. Tim Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard in response to continued threats to state capitols following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.
In a news release on Wednesday, Walz said he has activated the National Guard to assist the state and local law enforcement in St. Paul in the coming days. The FBI has warned that there could be violent protests at state capitol buildings in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
“Recent reports of planned armed protests around the country and at our State Capitol must be met with a strong and unequivocal response,” Walz wrote in an executive order. “We will not condone violence, and we will protect our State Capitol.”
Read the full executive order from the governor here.
He said the Minnesota National Guard will work with the State Patrol, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers and local law enforcement. Walz added that the State Patrol has increased its presence around the Minnesota Capitol “to respond to various threats and prevent unlawful entry into the building.”
“We will always support Minnesotans’ First Amendment rights to peacefully protest, but anyone involved in violent, illegal activity will be held accountable,” Walz said in the news release. “We are tracking reports and monitoring the situation closely to enhance our response and change tactics as needed.”
The announcement comes the same day that the governor plans to visit the Wasioja Historic District in Dodge County as part of his planned trips to several American history monuments across the state. He said he is using the visit to “urge Minnesotans to reflect on how divisive rhetoric undermined our democratic institutions over time,” and to call for peace.