Gov. Mike DeWine activates Ohio National Guard to assist with inauguration

Gov. Mike DeWine activates Ohio National Guard to assist with inauguration
Preparations take place for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Source: Patrick Semansky)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19/AP) - Gov. Mike DeWine says he’s activated nearly 800 Ohio National Guard soldiers and airmen to assist during the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. and in Ohio.

“People have the right to protest. They do not have the right to be destructive or hurt other people. We welcome peaceful protesters, but we saw what happened at the Capitol, so we are concerned, " DeWine said during a press conference Tuesday.

The governor signed the order authorizing the activation of 580 national guard members to allow them to begin training and prepare to respond should there be unrest surrounding the inauguration. The order is in effect from Jan. 14 to Jan. 21.

According to an Ohio National Guard spokesperson, the 580 Guard members will be on state active duty for training to be available should assistance be needed by state and local law enforcement in Ohio municipalities and at the Ohio Statehouse to provide safety and protection to citizens and property while ensuring the right to demonstrate peacefully.

An additional 200 Guard members will be deployed in a federal status to D.C. to support civil authorities with security-related missions throughout the presidential inauguration, as determined by the Secret Service.

There have been concerns about the event since protesters swarmed the Capitol last Wednesday as they tried to stop lawmakers from certifying the win of President-elect Joe Biden.

Plans for the Jan. 20 inauguration were already scaled back because of COVID-19.

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement Monday that officials have “comprehensive, coordinated plans” in place to ensure safety and security. She said the grounds of the Capitol will be closed to the public. The inauguration is a ticketed event.

The Department of Homeland Security is setting increased inauguration security measures in motion earlier than scheduled, citing an “evolving security landscape” leading up to the event.

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Copyright 2021 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.