HONOLULU (KHON2) — The entrances to the Hawaii State Capitol, both on the mauka and makai side, are now protected with water walls and a chain-linked fence in preparation for possible protests that federal and state agencies are monitoring.
The barriers will remain on the Capitol for at least a week after the FBI warned all 50 states about armed protests leading up to next week’s presidential inauguration. State Comptroller Curt Otaguro with the Department of Accounting and General Services oversees state properties and said, the barriers went up to protect the Hawaii Capitol building from possible damage.
“Another unprecedented circumstance where we are also preparing for the pandemic health risk but also physical threat and potentially riots or some kind of unrest,” Otaguro said.
The state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) said it is aware of the FBI bulletin about possible armed protesters. A DPS spokesperson said, they are not aware of a credible threat to the Hawaii Capitol building at this point.
The Hawaii National Guard said, they are ready to support if needed.
A group of pro-Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, ransacking the federal building for hours and resulting in the deaths of five people — including a Capitol police officer. Law enforcement agencies across the country have been on alert since the incident.
Senate President Ron Kouchi said, past demonstrations in Hawaii have been peaceful and hopes any future protests will remain the same.
“While we’ve had people gather to express their opinions here, every one of them so far has been peaceful and it is still believed that it is going to be peaceful,” Kouchi said. “After what we saw in Washington D.C last week, I think it is prudent to be prepared and ensure that everybody is safe. And at this point, I’m not going to say I don’t think that’s necessary and them somebody gets injured or worse.”
The FBI bulletin said armed protests are being planned in all 50 states from Jan. 16 to at least Jan. 20.