Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard on Friday, marking the state’s latest countermeasure against the looming armed protests expected at the Florida Capitol as early as this weekend.
The executive order allows the National Guard to assist state and local law enforcement while they conduct “security missions and assignments necessary to maintain peace.”
The activation, which will take effect immediately, is dated through Jan. 24 or until the security missions are complete.
The activation comes after federal authorities arrested an Army veteran who planned to confine protesters at the Florida Capitol Complex using firearms. He encouraged others via social media to join his insurrection.
Shortly after the arrest, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey pleaded with DeSantis to activate the Florida National Guard at a press conference.
“Governor DeSantis, on behalf of residents and law enforcement in the Capital City, I am asking you to do what only you have the power to do,” Dailey said. “Call up and deploy Florida’s National Guard troops now.”
Federal, state and local authorities have spent the week on high alert after the FBI issued a memo warning that armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols and Washington D.C.
Social media posts suggest the arrested Army veteran and Tallahassee resident, Daniel Baker, planned to violently confront protesters between now and Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. Baker’s Youtube account espouses violence against supporters of President Donald Trump.
It is unclear what direct threats the Florida Capitol Complex may face.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, however, issued a statement shortly after Dailey’s press conference.
We are aware of the information regarding possible protests and violence at state capitols,” the state police agency tweeted. “FDLE and Capitol Police continue to monitor the national situation in collaboration with our federal, state and local partners to implement security measures that enhance public safety at the Capitol.”
Authorities are encouraging residents to report suspicious activity by calling 1-800-FLA-SAFE.