Protests at Topeka Capitol will be peaceful, that is everyone’s ‘hope’

Kansas

Topeka State Capital (photograph by Michael K. Dakota, KSNT)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The response to planned protests at the Topeka Capitol will be “constantly evolving”, that is according to Capitol Police Public Information Officer Lt. Terry Golightly.

The FBI has publicly warned states of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Golightly told KSNT News law enforcement has seen several briefings and will adjust depending on the information they receive.

According to an internal FBI bulletin, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

 “Our office is aware of the heightened risks being reported, and we are taking all threats seriously,” a representative of the Kansas Governor’s Office said.

In Topeka, the Capitol Police, Kansas Highway Patrol Troop K, both lead the law enforcement force for the Kansas Statehouse.

“I feel that we have been fortunate in Kansas to let our citizens have a voice,” Golightly said.

According to the Topeka Police Department they will continue to monitor intelligence in Kansas and around the country. Although, the Topeka Police told KSNT they are, “not aware of any specific threats of violence or criminal activity” to the Capital City surrounding the FBI threat.

Jessica Pereira, of Kansas Rallies, told KSNT she has been organizing rallies for conservatives in Topeka and Wichita for the last five years, and while they do intend to rally they are unsure whether they will protest at the Capitol.

“We rally because we want our voices heard. We are typically called the silent majority, but that doesn’t work anymore. The other side is very vocal and stands up for what they believe in and we need to do the same,” Pereira told KNST. “The only violence that we have had is from the other side trying to run us over with their vehicles.”

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office told KSNT they are aware of the information sent by the FBI and will work with other departments to keep the community safe.

Following the events in Washington, D.C. Kansas senators and representatives honored Officer Brian Sicnick. He was killed while defending the Capitol on January 6 when groups of rioters overtook the building causing considerable damage. Five people died during the riot.

“We know we don’t wanna make things worse for our president by making our event a false flag by the left, but we still feel it’s important to stand up and be heard,” Pereira. “Conservatives are being silenced at every opportunity. Look at Facebook and Twitter and Parler. It needs to stop. If we don’t stand up now who will stand up for us?”

In Michigan the open carry of guns in the Capitol building has been banned one week after the armed mob rioted in the U.S. Capital.

“There is no reason any gun belongs in the Capitol, it’s absurd, the world thinks it’s absurd,” Michigan Sen. Dayna Polehanki said. “It sickens me that this is even being considered as a viable action.”

Pereira said it is up to the individual attending her rallies whether they bring guns. “We believe in personal freedom, but also responsibility,” Pereira said.

Pereira estimates 200 to 800 people could attend a rally.

Golightly said he “hopes” Kansans can continue to have that voice.

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