Quiet Inauguration Day at Tennessee Capitol despite planned protests

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Wednesday’s Presidential Inauguration sparked threats of armed protests across the country for several days. The FBI had warned every state capitol of these threats last week, but the Tennessee Capitol remained quiet as law enforcement and troopers stood ready to protect.

On January 11, Metro Police Chief John Drake warned of a pro-Trump rally scheduled at the capitol for January 20, but by Inauguration Day, Tennessee Homeland Security told News 2 the social media event posts were gone.

A total of four pro-Trump protesters sat on the steps of the capitol at one point in the morning.

One of them was Rod Santaw from Athens, “It’s gone beyond Trump now, it’s kind of getting into my civil liberties and I’m not gonna be pushed any further,” he told News 2.

Rod Santa (right) sits on the steps of the Tennessee Capitol in silent protest of Joe Biden’s Inauguration.

“I came with no expectation to be honest with you, you couldn’t really get any information on the internet of what was going on because if you tried to get in on a link, it wouldn’t let you get in, so I really didn’t know. I was a little restless in my sleep last night wondering what I was gonna get into,” Santa added.

Santaw noted the mass amount of security.

Troopers surrounded the capitol spaced out just yards from one another, Metro Police patrolled the plaza on bicycles. News 2 even spotted military police with the Tennessee National Guard under the plaza.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Highway Patrol told News 2 in a statement:

“Our agency is operating with a heightened sense of awareness. Therefore, we are taking precautions to ensure the Capitol and public are safe. We have an open line of communication with our federal, state and local partners.”

Bill Miller, Communications – Tennessee Highway Patrol

People have their own theories on why these protests did not happen in the last week. Some people say social media censored posts from right wing conservatives, some say it’s possible the arrests and charges against those caught storming the capitol discouraged local protests, and for some— it might just be the fact that Joe Biden is now officially sworn in as president.

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