Texas Capitol to close Saturday, before planned armed protests of Joe Biden’s inauguration

The Texas Capitol is closing from Saturday through Wednesday. The Texas Department of Public Safety said the closures come as armed protestors plan to rally there. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

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The Texas Capitol in Austin will be closed Saturday through Wednesday, the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday the state Capitol and its grounds would be closed “out of an abundance of caution” after President Donald Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol earlier this month in a violent siege that left five people dead. The insurrectionists stormed the building the day Congress was certifying Biden's electoral victory. The FBI had reportedly warned law enforcement agencies across the country of possibly armed protests at all 50 state capitals in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.

“The Texas Department of Public Safety is aware of armed protests planned at the Texas State Capitol this week and violent extremists who may seek to exploit constitutionally protected events to conduct criminal acts,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. “As a result, DPS has deployed additional personnel and resources to the Capitol and are working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Austin Police Department to monitor events and enforce the rule of law.”

The Texas Capitol was temporarily closed for less than 24 hours on Jan. 6 as the U.S. Capitol was besieged by rioters during the certification of the Electoral College. Trump supporters had also gathered outside the state Capitol as chaos ensued in Washington, D.C., but media reports indicated that the event did not appear to be violent. The state building had only reopened days earlier after having been shut down for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.