Located within a block from the Florida Capitol, the Leon County Courthouse and Tallahassee City Hall will temporarily close to the public next week at the urging of law enforcement.
“Due to an abundance of caution, local law enforcement made the request to assist with operations in responding to any potential protests in the area of the Florida State Capitol on or around Inauguration Day,” Leon County announced in a news release regarding the courthouse.
The closures, scheduled for Jan. 19 and Jan 20, are law enforcement’s latest move amid fears of more politically motivated riots following the U.S. Capitol attack last week.
Federal, state and local authorities are on high alert after an FBI memo warned that armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. While few details have been provided, the demonstrations are expected as earlier as this weekend before President-elect Joe Biden‘s Jan. 20 inauguration.
It is unclear what threats — if any — the Florida Capitol Complex may face. However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a statement Monday acknowledging threats to capitols nationwide.
“We are aware of the information regarding possible protests and violence at state capitols,” the state police agency said. “FDLE and Capitol Police continue to monitor the national situation and analyze information relevant to public safety. We regularly collaborate with our federal, state and local partners to discuss and implement security measures that enhance public safety at Florida’s Capitol.”
Notably, the Florida National Guard said they’ve received no formal requests from the Governor for added security as of Thursday, though they are “standing by and prepared to assist.”
Senate President Wilton Simpson, meanwhile, is encouraging Senators and staff to work remotely Sunday amid physical security concerns at the Florida Capitol Complex. In a memo sent Tuesday, Simpson said the Capitol is currently secure and not under threat. But come the weekend, he worries trouble could be afoot.
Simpson said demonstrations are “very likely.”