The Michigan attorney general announced on Twitter the statehouse was not safe.

State police in Maryland said they were preparing for armed demonstrators.

And Washington state’s governor authorized 750 National Guard members to protect the Capitol in Olympia.

These moves followed an FBI warning Monday that armed protests were planned in all 50 state capital cities across the U.S. — including Santa Fe — as well as in Washington, D.C., ahead of Inauguration Day. The warning comes in the wake of last week’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol in an effort by supporters of Republican President Donald Trump to halt congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win.

While recent protests at the New Mexico Roundhouse — such as one Thursday that drew several hundred Trump supporters — have remained mostly peaceful, leaders of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies said they were prepared for any event at the Capitol over the coming week that might get out of hand.

Frank Fisher, a spokesman for the FBI in Albuquerque, said in an email Tuesday his agency is working with local law enforcement to “identify any potential threats and make sure we share intelligence with each other.”

Adding to the potential for violence in New Mexico, the Legislature will convene its 60-day session at the Roundhouse on Tuesday — a day before Biden takes office. Some critics have decried the Legislature’s decision to hold much of the session virtually, which will limit public access to a building that normally is open to all residents.

A New Mexico State Police spokesman said the agency is “prepared to respond to events of civil unrest” surrounding the session or Biden’s inauguration.

“Given the current climate in our country, we will not rule out such events taking place during the upcoming legislative session, or on Inauguration Day or in the days and weeks surrounding either event, for that matter,” Officer Dusty Francisco said in an email.

“We are collaborating with our local law enforcement partners in order to implement a systematic coordinated response should gatherings become other than peaceful,” he added.

The response to a violent protest could include members of the New Mexico National Guard if Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham decides to make the call.

Spokesman Joseph Vigil said the Guard has been “planning, coordinating and is ready to support our state and federal law enforcement agency partners.”

Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham, said the governor expects “a peaceful and safe legislative session, but law enforcement will be prepared for any potential incidence or escalation of right-wing domestic terrorism.”

More changes to legislative procedures and Roundhouse security also could be coming in light of the protests, said state Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat.

Though Wirth said he could not provide more details about possible security initiatives, he said, “Santa Feans are gonna see lots of differences. It’s ramping up.”

He said “nothing is off the table” — including measures limiting access to streets surrounding the Capitol.

Raúl Burciaga, director of the Legislative Council Service, said building administrators have been in “essential discussions with law enforcement and security officials in putting together a security plan for the session.”

“We will have the usual Capitol security force inside the building helping to verify people’s identity and keeping the building safe,” Burciaga said.

Republican state Sen. Greg Baca of Belen said he wasn’t worried about his safety at the Capitol during the upcoming session.

“We’ve never had an incident there thus far, and I think we have a pretty good track record,” he said. “I have an eminent amount of faith in state police and their operations and ability to keep us safe in that building.”

State and city police were on hand for last week’s rally at the Roundhouse, which was raucous at times but did not become violent.

Still, several law enforcement officials said there was potential for violence. One cited a shooting in June during an Albuquerque demonstration to remove a public statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate.

“We’ve had people get shot during a protest, we’ve had people severely injured because of a protest,” said Maj. Luis Hernandez of the state police Special Operations Bureau.

“Most people will go out there and protest or do a demonstration without necessarily turning it into a riot,” he said in an interview last week. “We haven’t had that many issues when you compare it to the grand scheme of what is going on across the country — in Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs. We haven’t seen that level of riot breaking out across our cities.”

Santa Fe police Deputy Chief Paul Joye said law enforcement agencies “always have to think about the worst-case scenario — and if things were to go bad, how would they go bad and how would we respond to it when certain scenarios play out?”

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(26) comments

Dan Frazier

Could we perhaps erect a few random statues around the Roundhouse? Rosa Parks, Christopher Columbus, Obama, Captain Kangaroo, Kate Winslet ... This way, all those amped-up activists can have something to focus on destroying, and the police can take the day off...

Khal Spencer

Rocky and Bullwinkle, Peabody and Sherman, Dudley Do-Right....all our American Heroes deserve to be up there.

B. Rosen

What an embarrassment DJT has been for our country. He has left our country in much worse shape than he received it. We cannot even have a peaceful transfer of power now, it’s as if we were some sort of 2 bit banana republic.

d scott aldrich

Charles Rodriguez said it best, "The entire gist of the 45's claim that he won the election is entirely racially based. His claim is, essentially, that the votes of black and brown people don't count, only white votes count in the US. His big lie is what carried the insurrection at the US capitol, that the house of the people is for white people only. This is what Republicans continue to support and believe."

This is exactly why 'Trumpism' will not and can not stand in our Republic. It's divisive, not inclusive. I refer EVERYONE to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty and, of course, Ben Franklin, "A DEMOCRACY...IF YOU CAN KEEP IT"

Khal Spencer

Peaceful protests are fine. I marched four years ago with all my liberal friends becaue I didn't think Donald Trump was a good choice for President. The march was symbolic because President Trump won, period, whether or not the left wanted to scream and cry about it. So if President Trump's supporters want to march peacefully, that's their right too. Where I draw the line is violence, the threat of violence, or the sanctioning thereof. Oh and leave the smokepoles home.

Those who object to the Democrats controlling government should gather and plan for the mid-terms. That seems to be the proper strategy. I see no sign of anything warranting revolution but then again, that's just me.

Russell Scanlon

The Million Women march. . . I marched in Austin with about 100,000 other people who were upset by the 2016. In my recollection not one window was smashed, nothing was burned, and no law enforcement was attacked. There was a large rally on the Capitol grounds with no incident. In succeeding years, any “liberal” rally would be accompanied by a Humvee commanded by Alex Jones who would attempt to disrupt the proceedings with a bullhorn installed on the vehicle. It was so. . . Fascist.

Honestly the attempts today by GOP representatives to justify the violence on January 6th, to equate the insurrection with the MWM, BLM, or Antifa, etc. were not unexpected but still pathetic. I heard only one or two of them even acknowledge that they had participated for two months in an effort to overturn a national election. And there were other GOP reps, including newly elected Lauren Boebert, who were actually collaborating with the mob. I guess she thinks we are all stupid because she is.

Khal Spencer

Here in Santa Fe, I think we had about 15,000 people marching in a city of 85,000. No violence. Lots of clever signs. I think down deep most of the marchers accepted that Mr. Trump won the election but were not happy. Sure, some, including Hillary Clinton, later grumbled that Mr. Trump was illegitimate, but took the long view.

I think Sonny Bunch said it best in today's Bulwark in explaining the 6 January violence. This was about the President being kicked off of Twitter, but it is much broader. "(Trump) had his account taken away because he has lied, repeatedly, about the election. He has lied about fraud. He has lied about the integrity of absentee and mail-in ballots. He has lied about vote counts. He has lied about the courts. He has lied about Mike Pence being able to magically overturn the results of the election. And every time he lied—every time he told his supporters that the democratic process has failed, that every avenue has been exhausted, that despite his best efforts to follow the rules the corrupt elites have stolen the election and perverted our electoral system—he increased the chance of violence. Because his lies and his adamant refusal to properly concede implied that there was only one recourse left.

Violent revolution."

rodney carswell

Republicans don't like government and especially don't like taxes; however, they do love wasting government time and public money on BS issues and events. Remember the years and dollars that went into BENGHAZI! (hyperbole all theirs) resulting in zero? Remember all the money spent over the past decade investigating wide spread voter fraud, resulting in no evidence (meanwhile state GOP's were methodically disenfranchising voters through various bogus ID issues)? And now the big lie of a stolen election and all the trouble it has caused, recounts that had to be done and paid for and now all this security required nationwide to protect us and our governments from the big lie intentionally spread by the awful man in the Whitehouse and the radical right wing media complex.

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Richard Irell

Spot on. The crowd at the Capital was mostly BLM, but the fake news media whitewashed their faces. I’m so glad that a few of us could see through the charade. Oops, time to take my meds.

Miranda Viscoli

Unfortunately, in the state of New Mexico there is no ban on open and concealed carry including assault weapons. This has long been a tragedy waiting to happen. It is time to ban open and concealed carry in and at all state and city buildings in New Mexico. Democracy is not who has the biggest gun.

Khal Spencer

You were the one who praised our concealed carry requirements a few years back. I suspect anyone who goes through the NM Concealed Carry training and certification is extremely low risk, and there are data to support it.

I agree that protesting at the Roundhouse, City Hall, etc. with an AR hanging over one's shoulder is a pretty counterproductive idea. Meet you halfway?

Mike Johnson

True Khal, concealed carry courses sort out the wheat from the chaff, but it is also kinda neat to have that big .44 Magnum S&W revolver on your belt.......

Khal Spencer

I'm a little guy. The K-frame would have to do....

Jim Nagle

Are we being a bit naïve here with our tepid response to the threat against state capitols? Couy Griffin, an Otero County "elected" official and leader of a group responsible for frequent protests in Santa Fe, attended the assault on the US Capitol and declared “There’s going to be blood running out of that building.” What's not to think his followers pose a very real threat to our state capitol, our lawmakers and our city?

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Sheri VS


David Martinez

Has the Governor activated the National Guard?

Juana Lemus

100% agree!

Helen Garber

Perhaps it will be wise to consider that the worst case scenario is intended to happen and have a physical presence already in place to show strength, protect the Roundhouse and the surrounding historical district of Santa Fe. The Santa Monica,California police prepared themselves (snipers on the roofs and boarded up buildings) and prevented any looting after the 1992 riots and were easily overcome this past year as the city did not prepare for possible looting in May. It was very disheartening to be able to view looters destroying Santa Monica downtown live on the internet. I would definitely not want to see that happen here. An angry mob is capable of inciting all sorts of mayhem.

Craig O'Hare

Republican Sen. Greg Baker said he wasn't worried because “We’ve never had an incident there thus far." That could have been said about the United States Capitol 8 days ago.

Alan Courtney

Or the Titanic.

Paul Gibson

I had the exact same thought

Charles W Rodriguez

The entire gist of the 45's claim that he won the election is entirely racially based. His claim is, essentially, that the votes of black and brown people don't count, only white votes count in the US. His big lie is what carried the insurrection at the US capitol, that the house of the people is for white people only. This is what Republicans continue to support and believe.

David Ford

[thumbup] Truly sad but real. He and his lapdogs are not even hiding that fact and their message is not that subtle. He has railed against the voting in Philadelphia, Atlanta and other cities where he claims fraud took place and what do they have in common? Large African-American populations. The party of sedition is just getting started though. They have attempted to suppress voting for years with rules that affect those communities disproportionally and will start trying to do it again. The most glaring IMO is the reduction of polling stations in communities of color (especially in Georgia) claiming some sort of budgetary constraints while still maintaining a large number of stations in those areas of their "real constituents" AKA know as white privilege communities...

I must give a MASSIVE SHOUT OUT to those true American patriots in Georgia who had to stand in line for hours and hours to vote and did so specifically to send the message that even though the retrumplican "party" was trying to keep them from voting they would not be marginalized. Thank you!

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Khal Spencer

Reminds me of a quote.

"...calling radicals the “alt-left” is mischievous, tarring those fanatics with their ideological rivals’ brush. But as Communists and Fascists showed, the political world is round. If you go too far left or right, you meet in the anti-democratic land of intolerance and violence." -Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University

d scott aldrich

Thank you. As I watch the 2nd Impeachment proceedings, I see this reflected nearly exactly.

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