SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wednesday marks one week since rioters took over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and tension remains high across the country. Here in New Mexico, the focus is on beefing up security at the Roundhouse, ahead of next week’s legislative session.
Less than a week away, state lawmakers will begin the legislative session. The Roundhouse is already gearing up for large protests and some lawmakers have even received threats. The daunting and intense scene from last week’s Capitol riots shocked the nation. Now, state leaders are worried about what happened in D.C., could happen here.
“We’ve seen a call to arms by groups wanting to protest and invade state capitols all throughout the country,” said the New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D- Santa Fe).
Speaker Egolf is concerned about safety for the state’s upcoming legislative session. “There have been New Mexicans on social media and on these alt-right websites that have made specific threats against New Mexico targets,” said Speaker Egolf.
Some concerning comments were even captured in a recording from the Pro-Trump rally at the Roundhouse last week. “It’s going to be us going to the capitols and ripping them out of the capitols,” said an unknown person at the pro-Trump rally.
So now, officials are beefing up security measures in Santa Fe. This is something you don’t often see outside the Roundhouse. Legislative Services said they started putting up fencing Wednesday as a safety measure for any upcoming protests. The fencing is just a start to address security concerns. “It would be a surprise to me if anything develops,” said Republican Party Chair, Steve Pearce.
Pearce said he hasn’t heard of any planned protests at the Roundhouse but said if people decide to protest, there is no room for violence. “Our freedoms and our constitution for the U.S. allows us the right to petition our government, to gather in gatherings,” said Pearce. “It does not allow us to destroy other people’s property; It does not allow us to endanger people’s lives.”
“Lawful, peaceful protests are welcome but if there are some bad elements that want to try to do things like we saw in Washington, we’ll be ready to respond and keep everyone safe,” said Speaker Egolf.
Speaker Egolf couldn’t go into detail as to what threats were made to state lawmakers and to whom because of safety concerns but said they’re credible and specific. New Mexico State Police are on alert after the FBI warned of possible violent protests at the state capitol.