By JIM VERTUNO and ACACIA CORONADO Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — More than 100 Texas troopers, including dozens wearing tactical vests and carrying riot gear, stood on guard outside the state Capitol on Tuesday as lawmakers returned to work amid FBI warnings of armed protests at statehouses across the country.
Texas National Guard members also patrolled outside the Capitol. The first day of Texas’ legislative session had drawn only a small number of demonstrators by mid-morning, including several men carrying long rifles and dressed in combat fatigues far beyond the Capitol entrance.
An internal FBI bulletin has warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The Texas Department of Public Safety said it would deploy more security to the Capitol but made no mention of specific threats.
Although the Capitol was open to visitors, state officials late Monday issued a last-minute rule that anyone entering the building must take a COVID-19 test. The requirement came down as the virus is raging in Texas, with more than 13,000 newly confirmed cases reported Monday.
President Donald Trump was flying to Texas on Tuesday to survey the border wall with Mexico. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott was not joining Trump but was instead attending the largely ceremonial first day of Texas’ legislative session.