Second Amendment demonstration at Texas State Capitol despite closure
AUSTIN, Texas - Sunday armed demonstrators gathered at the Texas State Capitol.
Demonstrators came to advocate for second amendment rights and were largely libertarian. Most demonstrators were members of the "boogaloo" movement.
"Bogaloo will never be organized, everyone is different," explained Jainay LeBlanc. The Bay City woman is a member of the "Hibiscus Society," she says the group is part of the Boogaloo movement.
The movement is loosely connected but united by the idea of an impending civil war, revolution, or, at its most extreme, race war.
LeBlanc, like most boogaloos, says she is preparing for a "revolution." Something she describes as an uprising against a power-hungry government. "Many of us feel that it is inevitable," she explained.
Other boogaloos, also known as accelerationists, are working to ensure a civil or race war happens quickly. Carrying out crimes, even killing cops. "Some don’t follow the same morals as the rest of us." LeBlanc said.
Sunday, the Boogaloos that gathered at the Texas Capitol appeared to be largely on the same page.
"Today we gather for the protection and celebration of our rights!" explained Hibiscus Society member Ben Hawk.
LeBlanc who believes gun laws are an "infringement" says the pro-second amendment rally was planned months in advance, well before the capitol was stormed, an act she condemns. "It was horrible. It was awful, I don’t know why they felt it was okay to do that especially coming from the group that was so pro law enforcement, and they killed cops?"
The FBI warned of armed demonstrations at state capitols following the uprising. "I know that the FBI talked to several of our people in Texas and out of Texas." LeBlanc said, explaining that the group also has a substantial presence in North Carolina and Montana.
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LeBlanc says the group contemplated rescheduling the event, but ultimately pressed on. "Because we have a bad reputation, and we want to be out to show that we aren’t out here doing what the FBI was telling everyone we were gonna do." she said.
Roughly thirty to fifty demonstrators showed up at the capitol. They were met by an equal sized crowd of media and private security. A law enforcement helicopter circled the gathering, and hundreds of DPS Troopers were stationed nearby.
Some independent demonstrators, like Daniel Hunter, said they were there just in case pro-Trump rioters showed up. "I’ll stand in front of a thousand psychos and get trampled if I need to because what happened in Washington is unacceptable," he said.
Texas DPS has closed the Capitol off "out of an abundance of caution" through Jan. 20 ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration Day Wednesday. Armed guards peppered the lawn of the State Capitol starting Saturday after the FBI released a warning of the potential for armed protests at all 50 state capitols.
Capitol gates have been locked and marked off with yellow police signs.
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Protesters and visitors, some from out of state and out of town, stopped by the Capitol Saturday as well despite the closure.
The closure of the Capitol comes over a week after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Five people died as a result of the riot, including Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick.
RELATED: ‘The Capitol is a crime scene': Federal law enforcement officials open 170 case files in connection with riots
As a result of the riot, President Donald Trump was impeached for the second time on a charge of "incitement of insurrection," and many high-profile cabinet members, such as Education Secy. Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secy. Elaine Chao, acting Homeland Security Secy. Chad Wolf, HHS Secy. Alex Azar, and special envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney, have all resigned or stepped down from their positions.