Pro-Trump demonstrations begin at US statehouses

Small groups of pro-Trump demonstrators, some armed, have begun gathering outside US statehouses, including in Michigan, Ohio, and South Carolina.

In Lansing, Michigan, state police troopers walk around the Capitol grounds as a small group of demonstrators stand near a chain-link fence surrounding the 142-year-old building. Several National Guard vehicles are on a nearby street. One armed man has falsely given his name as Duncan Lemp, 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.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears a red “Make American Great Again” hat, while standing on the lawn with a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. The back of his shirt reads: “PATRIOT NOT RACIST NOT TERRORIST.”

In Columbus, Ohio, about two dozen people, several carrying long guns, gather outside the Capitol as dozens of state troopers and National Guard members guard multiple points around the Statehouse, including every entrance. Nearly every business around the downtown capital square is boarded up.

Several dozen people are gathering at the South Carolina Statehouse, some carrying American flags. It is not immediately clear if some in the group are also counter-protesters supportive of the incoming Biden administration.

A heavy law enforcement presence surrounds the government complex in downtown Columbia. The Capitol itself has been surrounded with metal barricades for several days, and state lawmakers have announced that they will not hold their scheduled in-person session this week because of the possible unrest.

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