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DeSantis activates National Guard to protect Florida Capitol

In this file photo, Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, talks with members of the Florida National Guard, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
In this file photo, Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, talks with members of the Florida National Guard, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard on Friday night amid threats of violent protests at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee.

DeSantis’ order followed Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey’s request for help and the FBI’s arrest of a U.S. Army veteran who was allegedly making threats.

The order, which allows the National Guard to coordinate security efforts with local law enforcement, took effect on Friday night and will remain in effect until Jan. 24.

The order did not specify the number of troops DeSantis will deploy to the Florida Capitol, which will close out of an abundance of caution.

FBI arrests former U.S. Army soldier from Tallahassee over threats
FBI arrests former U.S. Army soldier from Tallahassee over threats

FBI Special Agents arrested Daniel Alan Baker, 33, over an alleged plot to rally like-minded individuals to violently confront protesters on Sunday at the Florida Capitol. Baker claimed to have fought in Syria against ISIS and the Turkish government, according to a federal complaint.

In Washington, D.C., authorities closed the National Mall ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. After the deadly U.S. Capitol siege, the FBI issued warnings to states about attempts at similar violent demonstrations by right-wing extremists.

National Mall closes ahead of Biden's inauguration
National Mall closes ahead of Biden's inauguration

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump plans to leave the White House on Wednesday morning and participate in a farewell ceremony with a red carpet and a 21-gun salute at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One to Florida.

Read DeSantis’ order

Torres contributed to this report from Miami, Ramos reported from Pembroke Park, and Palombo from Washington, D.C.


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