Barriers placed around Alabama Capitol in case of protests

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 7:48 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Metal barricades were unloaded from trucks and placed around the Alabama State Capitol complex Monday afternoon in preparation for possible protests.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency responded to requests for the reasoning behind the partitions and a spokesperson said “ALEA is tasked with protecting state employees and state property. We requested barricades, and the City of Montgomery put them out.”

Only one confirmed demonstration has taken place in Montgomery Monday, and it started around 5 p.m. on West Fairview Avenue. A group gathered for a Black Lives Matter event in a local business parking lot.

WSFA 12 News is aware of rumors that other protests are planned for Montgomery but no other specific plans have been confirmed. We are also not aware of any credible threats that have been made against the state capitol or anywhere else in Montgomery at this time.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed spoke Monday evening, calling for nonviolence as protests against police brutality continue.

Nearby Maxwell Air Force Base says it was notified of a planned protest, set to begin at the same time as Reed’s news conference, and urged its members to remain cautious.

“While there are no indications for violence at this time, Maxwell-Gunter members that attend the protest should be vigilant, aware of their surroundings, and avoid any agitation groups or individuals,” the base said.

Department of Defense policy prohibits military members from taking part in demonstrations if they are on duty, in a foreign country, in uniform, when the activities constitute a breach of law and order, or when violence is likely to result.

Metal barricades now line the Alabama State Capitol complex.
Metal barricades now line the Alabama State Capitol complex.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

The state capitol, often the site of various protests, saw a gathering over the weekend. That event was, like many around the nation, a protest of the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd.

The capitol protest was peaceful in nature. However, events in the Birmingham area ended with store windows being knocked out, some looting, and the destruction of statues in a city park.

The violence has put many cities on edge. Birmingham is now under a state of emergency and a curfew is in place.

“Regretfully, the natural anger and frustration of Mr. Floyd’s death has now spread to our state and what started out as peaceful protests in some of our cities yesterday afternoon turned ugly last night,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

Ivey said Monday that she has authorized Adjutant General Sheryl Gordon to activate up to 1,000 members of the Alabama National Guard authorization, if needed.

Metal barricades now line the Alabama State Capitol complex.
Metal barricades now line the Alabama State Capitol complex.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

Montgomery’s Downtown Business Association released a statement condemning “police brutality, racism, white supremacy, bigotry, hatred, systematic marginalization and oppression of any kind.”

The DBA said economical and socio-economical changes must come but added “we must PROTECT our community from destructive rioting and continue to BUILD our city during this important journey.

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