OLYMPIA, Wash. - Locals in Olympia who live and work near the Washington State Capitol have a front-row view of the ongoing unrest.
Uptown Grill is just a couple of blocks away, and the bar manager said the restaurant has seen the dozens of protests and marches that have taken place in the neighborhood since the establishment opened last year in July.
"It’s almost like a military base," said Alexander Diffendaffer of Uptown Grill. "You see everybody in camo, you see everybody in protective gear."
That’s what Diffendaffer has been observing at the State Capitol in recent days.
A local who was dining at the restaurant Debbie Kirby said, "I see a lot of people yielding handguns, their holstered guns, out in the public and I’m just like. It’s kind of surreal to me. It just doesn’t seem like people are operating on fact. They’re operating on fiction, and not willing to talk to the other side to verify."
Washington State Patrol (WSP) has been updating the public regularly as the heightened security continues at the State Capitol. The latest intelligence suggests groups are planning to gather off-campus, then move onto capitol grounds.
"It’s hard for everybody, not just for one group of people, it’s hard for everybody right now. So keep that in mind before you get at somebody for stepping on your shoes and realize the type of day they’ve been having because it’s not really been a great year," said Diffendaffer.
Director of Communications Chris Loftis of WSP said the agency has received the FBI notice that warns of armed protests that are being planned across all 50 state capitols leading up to the inauguration.
Loftis said law enforcement is already working on very specific threats to the Capitol Building.
Since the November Election, State Patrol said there have been 28 unpermitted events at the capitol involving about three thousand individuals. A dozen of those event are what police call "Right-Left" conflicts.
We’ll continue following the events that unfold in our capital city.