Illinois State Capitol

Few Protesters Outside Illinois State Capitol Building Saturday

NBC Universal, Inc.

Despite a warning from the FBI about potential violent protests at all state capitals this weekend, few protesters were present outside the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield Saturday.

Still, crews continued to board up windows on the building's first floor to prepare for potential violent demonstrations in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration.

Outside the capitol building, NBC 5 encountered two protesters who had gathered in protest of Illinois' restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think it's terrible that people are taking what are supposed to be good, peaceful movements where people are trying to do good things in the community and turning them into these violent ordeals," said demonstrator Ashley Ramos.

Even with the quiet scene Saturday, police and military remembers remained on standby for what could potentially happen.

"You know, we're all about first amendment rights, but they need to be peaceful protests and demonstrations," said Richard Neely, Adjutant General and Commander of the Illinois National Guard.

Earlier this week, Illinois State Police said they were "tracking possible events at the Illinois Capitol building this weekend" following a memo from the FBI warning law enforcement agencies across the country of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols.

On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated 250 National Guard troops in response to the FBI's warning.

The FBI memo reported the protests could begin as early as Jan. 16, and says an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C., the same day and stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official. The memo discusses possible threats discussed by online actors for Jan. 16 through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, but that doesn’t mean that law enforcement agencies expect violent mass protests or confrontations in every state, NBC News reported.

Chicago officials also announced security preparations, activating the city's emergency operations center for the presidential inauguration next week.

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