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Oklahoma governor activates National Guard for state Capitol

The Shawnee News-Star
Exterior of the Oklahoma Capitol building Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — About 75 members of the Oklahoma National Guard are being activated to help protect the state Capitol in case potential protests turn violent, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced on Friday.

Stitt activated the troops following a request by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which is responsible for Capitol security. The governor's office said no specific, credible threats have been identified in Oklahoma, but the FBI has warned of armed rallies in Washington and at all 50 state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The Oklahoma troops will be activated from Saturday through next Thursday.

"I support the right for Oklahomans to peacefully demonstrate, but we will not tolerate violence or damage to property," Stitt said in a statement.

About 1,000 supporters of President Donald Trump rallied at the Oklahoma Capitol last week on the same day a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, but the Oklahoma rally was mostly peaceful.

The organizers of the Oklahoma event canceled a planned second rally at the state Capitol this weekend, and one of the state's largest pro-firearms group, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, has urged their members to stay away from the building.