Police Show Up In Hartford, But Protesters Largely Stay Away | Connecticut Public Radio
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Police Show Up In Hartford, But Protesters Largely Stay Away

Jan 17, 2021

State and local law enforcement agencies blocked off and locked down the Connecticut State Capitol complex Sunday in anticipation of pro-Trump protests that never came to pass.

Backed by an FBI warning that all 50 state capitol buildings were vulnerable to attack, and in response to intelligence gathered since the violent mob storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, Connecticut law enforcement officials came together to protect against similar activity in Hartford. 

But the dozen or so members of the press corps gathered on the grassy Capitol grounds Sunday far outnumbered the handful of protesters and counterprotesters who showed up. 

A man who said he came out “for freedom” identified himself as Duncan Lemp of Norwich. Attempts to confirm his actual identity were unsuccessful. Duncan Lemp was a Maryland man who was killed in a no-knock police raid and became a martyr for a loose network of gun-toting, anti-government extremists, according to the Associated Press.

By early afternoon, the state said it was beginning to pull back.

And after 2 p.m. Sunday, Hartford Police said on Twitter that they, too, had begun to pull back -- all the roads around the Capitol were opened.

Earlier in the morning, Natalie Wallace was out taking her dog Rusty for a walk around the Capitol, something she says she does three times a day. So she knew they were beefing up security, and she had seen out-of-state trucks with Trump banners at the mall earlier in the weekend. But she didn’t let it get in the way of her walk with her dog.

Law enforcement on the grounds of the state Capitol in Hartford on Jan. 17, 2021. Roads were closed and security was tight around the Capitol after a warning from the FBI that state capitols around the country could see rioting and violence leading up to the presidential inauguration.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

“I was a little bit concerned,” she said. “This is a gorgeous building. Architecturally, it’s just stunning. But I’m not so worried.”

At 3:30 p.m., the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection tweeted that “local and state law enforcement, intelligence and military partners will continue to coordinate through the inauguration on Wednesday.” 

Meanwhile, an Associated Press review of records finds that veterans of President Donald Trump’s failed campaign were key players in the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol. Paperwork filed to get an event permit from the National Park Service lists more than half a dozen people who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s campaign.