CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a proclamation giving the National Guard ability to help state and local law enforcement ahead of possible presidential inauguration protests.
“We were horrified by what we saw take place in the Capitol last week,” he said. “Violence will not be tolerated.”
The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio National Guard will be “out in full force” and “will have a significant presence in Columbus and available anywhere else trouble may arise,” DeWine said.
In the interest of public safety, DeWine announced the Ohio Statehouse and state office buildings will be closed Sunday through Wednesday.
The following state-managed buildings in Columbus, Ohio, will be temporarily closed to employees and visitors:
- The Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, 77 S. High Street;
- The James A. Rhodes State Office Tower, 30 E. Broad Street;
- 25 S. Front Street;
- 246 N. High Street;
- 35 E. Chestnut Street; and
- The William Green Building, 30 W. Spring Street.
“It’s time for us to observe the peaceful transfer of power,” DeWine said.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginter is urging residents if they see something to say something.
“In the coming days, we will not allow hate, violence, or destruction to be part of our city,” he said. “Our constitution gives everyone the right to protest peacefully. It does not give anyone the right to incite violence, harm, or to intimidate others or destroy property.”
Maj. Gen. John C. Harris of the Ohio National Guard said they will avoid the use of deadly force, but they are prepared to defend themselves.
The governor also approved the activation of several hundred additional members of the Ohio National Guard to assist federal authorities in the Washington D.C. area.
On Tuesday, DeWine said he activated nearly 600 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,” he 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.
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