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Capitol Watch: updates from downtown Lansing where protests are expected at Michigan Capitol

Everything you need to know about security and protests around the capitol area.
The National Guard arrived just before noon on Sunday, Jan. 17 as protests were anticipated...
The National Guard arrived just before noon on Sunday, Jan. 17 as protests were anticipated over the upcoming days.(WILX/Christiana Ford)
Published: Jan. 17, 2021 at 12:38 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The National Guard blocked traffic in the area of Michigan and Washington and along Capitol Avenue near the capitol.

By noon, roughly 10 protesters were in front of the Michigan Capitol building speaking with the media on why they planted themselves in the area, armed with guns, including AR-15s, helmets, and other gear, including Nerf guns.

Michigan State Police and Lansing Police were patrolling along the area before being joined by the National Guard just before noon. The presence of the National Guard deterred a majority of protesters from attending, according to one member of the Boogaloo Boys.

“We were coming out here for unity trying to get ANTIFA, Proud Boys, all of us together for a conversation,” said Duncan Lemp, a member of the Boogaloo Boys. “The best part about being a human being is we’re allowed to disagree. We can find a middle ground.”

“I do not condone what happened at the U.S. Capitol. I am here to protest my First and Second Amendment Rights and for the unification of groups to talk peacefully,” Lemp added.

Representatives from Boogaloo Boys just gave a very eerie warning directed at government...
Representatives from Boogaloo Boys just gave a very eerie warning directed at government officials about potential bloodshed in the streets if things don’t change.(WILX/Christiana Ford)

Protesters were heavily outnumbered by security and were separated from the building by the chain-link fence that had been installed in the days prior.

“We are an early group sent here to test the waters,” Timothy Teagan of Plymouth said while holding an AR-15. “Hopefully we’ll see a couple dozen from my group.”

A protestor told WILX he was there to represent the Boogaloo Boys, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter while donning a rainbow flag. Others claimed they were there as a public service announcement rather than a violent protest.

Legislators were not inside of the capitol building as it was closed. Representative Elissa Slotkin was across from the capitol, observing.

I’m here in Lansing with the Lansing Police, watching the protest going on in front of the Capitol. There are about 200...

Posted by Rep. Elissa Slotkin on Sunday, January 17, 2021

Overall, the protests were peaceful with no major incidents yet reported. Some in attendance were there to counter-protest, claiming that everyone needs to work together. Wayne Koper, armed with a Nerf gun, said he was there to mock the protestors in attendance.

Wayne Koper said he went to the capitol with the Michigan Nerf Malitia. He said he was there to...
Wayne Koper said he went to the capitol with the Michigan Nerf Malitia. He said he was there to make a joke of the armed protestors.(WILX/Christiana Ford)

Others in attendance chose to show support for state leaders. Near the corner of W Michigan Ave and S Capitol Ave, former state representative Lorence Wenke parked a pickup truck with a sign that thanked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her leadership.

While protesters stood in on the other side of the chain-link fence from the capitol, former...
While protesters stood in on the other side of the chain-link fence from the capitol, former state representative Lorence Wenke rented two parking spots in front of the state Capitol to display this sign that he paid $560 for to thank Gov. Whitmer.(WILX)

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