Springfield remains quiet with tightened security ahead of Inauguration Day

Illinois State Capitol building
Illinois State Capitol building

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Despite online chatter and additional security, it turned out to be a rather quiet weekend at state capitals in Illinois and neighboring states.

Police and 250 members of the Illinois National Guard surrounded the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield over the weekend. The show of force was meant to deter any armed protests that might materialize in the days ahead of Inauguration Day.

“With the National Guard supporting law enforcement, it has been a key factor to probably the reduced amount of protests,” Illinois National Guard Maj. Gen. Rich Neeley told CBS 2.

Governor Pritzker activated 250 Illinois National Guard members Friday to protect Springfield in light of a recent FBI warning about the potential for armed protests at all 50 state capitals. The governor has said he was unaware of any specific threat to Springfield or state government offices in Chicago, but could not ignore an alert for potential violence.

In response to the warning, the Illinois Secretary of State police covered some Capitol windows and doors with plywood. Illinois State Capitol grounds were on lockdown this weekend. Streets were closed and armored trucks were out.

The troops are expected to be in place until at least Wednesday, when President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn into office.

State officials do not want their own version of the attack on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. that happened two weeks ago.

A planned "Save Our State" rally in Springfield attracted a handful of people over the weekend, but did not pose a threat.

In Michigan, about a 100 protestors, some armed, staged a peaceful rally in Lansing. Officials in Indiana said it was a quiet weekend at the state capitol in Indianapolis.

“Our citizens should really feel secure both here in the state, and I think in the nation’s capital," Neeley said.

Pritzker also sent 300 Guard members to Washington, D.C., to help protect the nation’s capital. The state also sent soldiers and airmen to help with logistics and communications, as well as an Air National Guard chaplain and a small medical team.

The District of Columbia requested the Illinois Guard’s assistance after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.