NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Deadly violence at the nation’s capital last week has many people on high alert for possible armed protests during inauguration week.
Several Republican lawmakers warned of worsening violence during Wednesday’s impeachment vote and groups across the country have planned election protests at all 50 state capitols when president-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations has said the protests are planned for January 16th to the 20th.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said they have already been alerted to at least three “armed protests.”
“My birthday was the 6th, I saw what was happening in D.C. where I used to live, and I talked to friends up there and we just all think it’s so sad that national property’s been defaced and people just feel that they can just do anything,” said Mark Morgan, who works near the capitol in downtown Nashville.
“I’m confident that it could happen here, I saw it this summer. You know not that obviously, but I think that there’s a lot of anger that is being stirred in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time, and I don’t know how it could turn out,” said David Yarbrough who lives and works near the capitol.
Sheraton Grand is just across the street from Legislative Plaza where protesters often gather downtown. A manager for the hotel told News 2 they, along with other hotels, are taking extra precautions.
Til 5 Pizza is also just across the street. An employee told News 2 they’ve never had a problem with any of the protests, in fact, they just get more business.
But some businesses are already announcing closures for the week and some who work downtown say they’ll be opting to work remote on Inauguration Day.
“My office is about five blocks from the capitol I hope that I’ll be working, but I really, I am a little nervous that maybe we will work remotely,” Morgan said.
“If you have something to say, I think you should say it peacefully, I think you should make your voice heard, just I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Yarbrough added.
Metro police said as of now, they are not aware of any threat to government buildings or businesses, but they are staffed in case legal, peaceful protests take a turn.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is already showing an increased presence around the state Capitol as well.