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FBI working to ensure protests stay peaceful in Colorado ahead of inauguration

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Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 18:35:44-05

DENVER — Colorado authorities say they are working to make sure that any potential demonstrations leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week remain peaceful, amid an FBI warning about possible armed protests at state capitols across the country.

"At the same time, we are working together with state and local authorities to ensure that any demonstrations that may take place in Colorado remain peaceful," Colorado U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn and FBI Special Agent in Charge Micheal Schneider said in a joint statement Tuesday. "Should that not be the case, we will investigate and aggressively prosecute those who violate federal law. While First Amendment rights will be protected, our offices will ensure that our criminal laws are enforced."

Authorities are asking anyone who sees suspicious activity to call the FBI at 303-629-7171.

In the bulletin obtained by ABC News, the agency says there is an online right-wing group calling for the storming of local, state and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings if President Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day.

There are also reports the group plans to storm government offices in every state on Inauguration Day regardless of whether the state certified votes for Biden or Trump.

"We'd rather be prepared and over prepared than to not be prepared and caught off guard," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Monday.

Hancock said intelligence communications are currently being shared among Denver Police and state and federal law enforcement to assess what the FBI's bulletin may mean for the city.

"The worst thing we can do is not take seriously the intel we're picking up. The type of postings that are occurring on social media... what we saw in D.C. [We're] not overreacting but making sure we're doing everything necessary to make sure we're preparing ourselves," Hancock said.