Large police presence at North Carolina State Capitol; no protests seen

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RALEIGH, N.C (WNCN) – There was a large police presence Sunday at the North Carolina State Capitol and throughout downtown Raleigh ahead of possible armed protests.

A flyer from an unknown source called for armed protests at all 50 state Capitols at noon on Sunday. By 7 p.m., CBS 17 crews in downtown Raleigh had not seen any protesters. 

State Police and Capitol Police were standing watch at Capitol Square. Waist-high metal barriers which have been up since last year’s protests remain in place. No additional barriers have been added to the perimeter of the Capitol building. There were several law enforcement officers keeping an eye on the Capitol building with binoculars from nearby rooftops as well. 

“It’s insane – it’s a lot to take in. Never seen anything like it before,” said James Foster, a Raleigh resident.

They braced for possible unrest leading up to Inauguration Day and patrolled for armed protestors that ultimately never showed. 

Metal barriers were installed around the Wake County Justice Center and Old Courthouse. Salisbury from Davie to Martin is closed. Dozens of sheriff’s deputies were also standing watch with helmets and shields in anticipation of possible protests. 

“I mean initially when I came down here it was a little frightening to see all the police, but I understand that they have a job to do, so it’s just unfortunately what has to be done right now,” said Maria Heck, a Cary resident.

A lone man carrying a poster was seen around 2 p.m., but he left soon after appearing.

Following the chaos at the nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C., the FBI also warned of possible armed protests in Capitol cities leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Despite a quiet Sunday, Wake County leaders are leaving nothing to chance.

All downtown government buildings will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin is encouraging people to stay away from downtown Raleigh on Wednesday, and will have all city employees work from home.

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