Richmond, Va. (WRIC) — Threats of potential violence loom over Virginia’s Capital City.
Officials are sending a strong message with news of threats toward all 50 U.S. Capital cities ahead of the Presidential Inauguration and Lobby Day expected to bring people to Richmond on Monday.
At a news conference Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam discussed the security measures in place.
“If you’re planning to come here or up to Washington with ill intent you need to turn around and go home. You are not welcome here and you are not welcome there,” Northam said.
However, Northam added if they do come, Virginia will be ready.
Northam said they have sent Virginia National Guard members and police officers to D.C. However, he added both would be available for Richmond as well.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said the city has been preparing for Lobby Day for weeks, long before the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week. Stoney said while everyone has a right to be heard, everyone also has a right to be safe and unthreatened.
The City of Richmond declared a new State of Emergency on Monday after the FBI warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington D.C. in the days leading up to inauguration day.
Stoney said last year’s Lobby Day came and went peacefully, and expects it to go the same way this year. However, the mayor said a lot has changed this year and expects people to obey the new laws, including not bringing firearms to government buildings or gatherings.
He also reminded citizens that road closures would be in effect this weekend and to avoid downtown.
A state official said Capitol Square has been closed until Jan. 21, in anticipation of possible unrest. Even so, security fencing is being put around the square along with other additional security precautions.
“We are taking the necessary measures to protect the people and property of our commonwealth,” he said.