Alabama State Troopers and Montgomery Police Department officers greatly outnumbered the few visitors outside the state Capitol on Sunday, who were curious to see the protective measures in place after the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies warned of possible far-right armed protests in Washington D.C. and at state capitols across the country.
A couple with their dog walked up Dexter Avenue around 1 p.m. Sunday to the Capitol grounds and looked out over the police barricades and the 20 or so state troopers and city police officers, patrolling the area on foot and in all-terrain vehicles.
A drone occasionally buzzed overhead and officers were posted atop buildings keeping an eye from above.
Following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters in an attempt to overturn the presidential election results, an internal FBI memo warned of possible armed protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
While no such protestors showed at Alabama’s Capitol on Sunday, small groups of armed protestors did arrive at other state capitols.
About two dozen protestors, some with long guns, arrived at Ohio’s state Capitol on Sunday, and approximately 20 arrived at Michigan’s Capitol, according to the Associated Press. Small groups of armed protests also showed up at state capitols in Oregon and Texas, according to the AP.
Streets surrounding the state Capitol were blocked off for two blocks in all directions, but officers allowed the car of a musician and member of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church through the blockade so he could park in front of the church, once home to Martin Luther King Jr.
The church’s Sunday morning service was closed to in-person worshipers but was streamed to the church’s Facebook page.
Inside the church on Sunday morning, Rev. Cromwell Handy spoke about the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday and the church’s plans to honor the civil rights leader who once led sermons there. He also called for calm during a time of strife.
“We want to be praying for this nation and all that we’re going through right now. It’s just growing pains, to get where God wants us to be. One nation, under God.” Rev. Handy said. “It’s just growing pains. The devil lifts his head up now more than at any time. It’s like a lightbulb that shines brightest right before it goes out. The devil knows his time is short.”
On Monday, the church plans to stream its 46th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration at 10 a.m.
National Guard troops protecting the U.S. Capitol on Sunday were brought cots to sleep on, an NBC News reporter tweeted, after images of the troops laying across the marble floors and along stairs circulated on social media this week.
Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced Alabama would send 500 additional National Guard troops to the U.S. Capitol for Wednesday’s presidential inauguration, totaling 750 troops from Alabama to help provide protection.