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State patrol, National Guard set up extra security in Olympia ahead of legislative session

State troopers and the National Guard set up fencing at the Washington State Capitol early Sunday morning. (Washington State Patrol)

Washington state troopers and the National Guard arrived on the Capitol Campus in Olympia early Sunday morning to set up security ahead of the start of the legislative session on Monday.

Gov. Inslee said on Friday he activated the National Guard.

Lawmakers, protesters prepare for legislative session in Olympia next week

“I am authorizing up to 750 members of the Guard and a large number of Washington State Patrol troopers will be on hand, in addition to the regular Capitol Campus security contingent,” Inslee said in a statement.

The governor said then that the National Guard’s role will be to support WSP “in their mission to protect Washingtonians, legislators, their staff and the buildings of the Washington State West Capitol Campus.”

The actions in Washington, D.C., and at the governor’s mansion in Olympia earlier this week sparked the move.

There will be space on campus for people to exercise their First Amendment rights, but there will also be restricted areas open only for legislators and staff. The statement from the governor says these areas will be clearly delineated by fencing and security.

At least one group — Liberty, At All Hazards — was helping to organize an action to protest the fact that the public cannot enter legislative chambers this year to see and interact with legislators in person. But a member of the group, Tyler Miller, told KIRO Radio their plans have changed.

“The likelihood of our event being infiltrated and hijacked was just too great to risk other peoples’ lives,” Miller said.

However, that does not mean other demonstrators won’t carry out their own plans to be outside the doors to legislative buildings each day during the session.

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