ALBANY, N.Y. — State and local law enforcement authorities in Albany are preparing for the possibility of unrest in New York’s capital after the FBI warned of protests nationwide in the days leading to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state was aware of the threats and said there will be “increased security during that period of time.”
The state Capitol building already is closed to the public and most lawmakers and their staff are attending session — which began on Jan. 6 — virtually from the confines of their districts. But a protest last week on the Capitol’s grounds resulted in a double stabbing after suspected Antifa supporters clashed with members of the right-wing Proud Boys during a rally supporting President Donald Trump. It took place the same day as the riot in the U.S. Capitol.
Since then, a portion of State Street in downtown Albany, which runs adjacent to the Capitol, has been closed to traffic. Sidewalk barricades to prevent gatherings outside the entrance to the Executive Mansion, where the governor lives, have been in place for months. Dozens of state troopers — including some canine units — have been patrolling the nearly empty halls of the state Capitol.
“Given recent events in Washington and across the country, the New York State Police has, out of an abundance of caution, taken steps to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany,” State Police spokesperson Beau Duffy said in an email. “These restrictions are in place until further notice.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins have said they are also tuned into the threats and are encouraging Albany residents and businesses to stay up to date with developments through the police department’s social media feeds and with a local alert system.
“The City of Albany continues to work closely with our federal and state intelligence and law enforcement partners to monitor any threats of violence and ensure we are fully prepared to keep our city safe,” Hawkins and Sheehan said in the joint statement.