Security is being stepped up at the New Hampshire and Maine state houses following last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol and in response to a warning of the possibility of armed protests ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The FBI on Monday sent an alert to law enforcement agencies warning of calls for "peaceful armed protest" at all 50 states' capitols, as well as Washington, D.C., over Jan. 16-20.
Lawmakers from New Hampshire and Maine emphasized that peaceful protests are welcome, but that problems are not. One said, "You'd be an idiot not to be worried after what happened in D.C."
So far there are no fences around the New Hampshire State House or visible police presence, but House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, said Tuesday that preparations are underway just in case.
Packard heard about the call for state-by-state protests nationwide and has been in touch with House security in Concord, he said.
"I have firm confidence that our state police and house security will be able to contain any problems that might come up if they come up at all," Packard said.
The head of the New Hampshire State Police, Col. Nate Noyes, said the department is working with colleagues in law enforcement to ensure safety but has not said if barricades will be implemented.
"That would be a joint decision at this point," Noyes said. "The demonstrations are nothing new to our state and to our organization and we're going to continue to monitor events as they unfold but right now the state police is confident that we're going to be able to handle this appropriately."
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Packard added that any protesters planning on heading to the State House are urged to protest peacefully.
"If you're gonna come, you're obviously welcome. This is the people's building, but do it peacefully. Don't in any way, shape or form try to crash the building and destroy things," Packard said.
In Maine, the Department of Public Safety, which oversees Maine State Police and the Capitol Police, said Tuesday that security is being stepped up at its State House.
The Maine National Guard has been included in security discussions, should additional help be needed.
For now, the Department of Public Safety is focused on potential events this Sunday and on Wednesday, Jan. 20, when Biden will be inaugurated.
"My goal is to make sure the people that work here– the public that is here is safe and secure," said Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, who is also part of security discussions regarding the Capitol in Augusta.
In an interview with NECN and NBC10 Boston, Jackson said he is now receiving two or three safety briefings per day, with at least some of them involving the FBI.
He has also noticed an increased security presence at the State House with additional precautions in place he doesn't normally see.
"It's a different time and people want to make sure they have every angle of the place covered,” he said, adding that he has not personally adjusted his workday routine in response to any potential threats.
One of the most visible changes at Maine's State House can be found at its front entrance.
While the building has been closed to the public for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was possible to enter the building and approach an indoor security desk.
As of last week, the main entrance doors are all locked and security meets visitors who do not have access badges there before they can go inside, though the need for people to go in the building at all has been reduced because the vast majority of State House employees are working remotely.
"My concern is there's a plan in place to be prepared," said Maine Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford.
"Ultimately there have been demonstrations at [Maine's] capitol for several months and it seems like Capitol Police have done a really good job making sure those demonstrations remain peaceful," he said.
That said, while they both support all peaceful protests, Fecteau and Jackson want to remain vigilant in light of the stark display of what could happen if a riot like the one at U.S. Capitol were to break out somewhere else.
"I'm definitely worried," Jackson said. "I don't know if it's going to happen but you'd be an idiot not to be worried after what happened in D.C."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.