Gov. Janet Mills activated the Maine National Guard on Friday, placing them on standby should peaceful protests erupt into violence at the State Capitol in the coming week.

Earlier in the week Mills, mirroring actions taken by governors in other states, involved the Guard in security preparations with the Maine State Police and other agencies. She also authorized sending Maine guardsmen to Washington, D.C., to help protect the U.S. Capitol during Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration Wednesday.

She activated the Guard on Friday, she said in a statement, “out of an abundance of caution.”

Mills said there is no credible evidence yet to suggest there might be safety or security threats in Augusta on Sunday, the day that many far-right groups have called for armed protests in state capitols in response to the results of the November election, or in any of the other days leading up to the inauguration.

“But based on what we saw last week at the U.S. Capitol, and like many of my fellow governors across the country, I am activating the National Guard out of an abundance of caution,” Mills said. “Doing so allows them to be ready to act in the event their support is needed. I fully respect the right of all Maine people to speak their minds in a peaceful and lawful manner, and I hope – and expect – that will be the case in the coming days, just as it has been in the past here in Maine.”

The Maine Department of Public Safety, working with the Maine State Police and the Maine Information Analysis Center, is monitoring intelligence, according to Mike Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, police have increased their presence around the State House in Augusta.

Other security measures being taken in Augusta leading up to the inauguration include new screening systems and access restrictions at the State House and the adjacent Burton J. Cross State Office Building.

The State House has been closed to the public during the pandemic. Only lawmakers, state government employees and others with authorized key cards are allowed to enter, and state employees who work remotely but make occasional trips to their Augusta offices have been asked to stay away until at least Jan. 22.

Weapons are prohibited on state property in Augusta.

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