Authorities on alert, Airbnb to review bookings ahead of MI Capitol protests


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — Airbnb says it will review reservations in Lansing ahead of expected demonstrations at Michigan’s state Capitol and may cancel bookings by anyone determined to be part of a hate group or who may have come to the city with violent intentions.

The move comes as state government leaders across the U.S. prepare for potential protests ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and follows the Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

This move from the vacation rental company comes as law enforcement and city officials have spent the week preparing for possible violence or unrest.

“Many of our community are terrified as of right now, so we are doing everything we can to ease their tension and how we do that is prepare,” Lansing Police Department Chief Daryl Green said.

The heightened security measures include a heavy police presence, new fencing put up around the Capitol building and activating the National Guard.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor appeared on CNN Newsroom Saturday saying, “We’re hoping for a peaceful protest … but we’re preparing for the worst.”

While law enforcement couldn’t get into the specific intel they’re receiving or “covert” security measures in place, officials are urging the public to keep their distance from the demonstrations.

“In light of expected demonstrations at the Capitol building this Sunday, I urge everyone to avoid coming to the Capitol and surrounding area,” Schor wrote on Twitter Saturday.

One day ahead of the expected armed protests, it’s still unclear who or what group is behind the demonstration.

News 8 contacted several right-wing and militia groups across the state Friday. All of them stated they won’t be attending Sunday’s demonstration and are urging their members to stay home as well.

Michigan’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, tried to calm some nerves heading into the weekend. Nessel appeared on MSNBC Friday, saying she’s confident they’re prepared for whatever ends up happening Sunday.

“I think we’re going to be fine this weekend when the Capitol is closed,” Nessel said. “There is going to be obviously a very heavy police presence and there’s going to be a coordinated effort between the National Guard, MSP (the Michigan State Police), local law enforcement and federal authorities.”

However, Nessel went on to express her continued concern about security at the Capitol moving forward as concealed carry is still permitted in the building.

“If this makes me a jerk, so be it,” Nessel wrote as part of a series of tweets posted Saturday. “If hurt feelings are the sacrifice for saving human lives, I can live with it. Not using my office to encourage what it right means others cannot. The Capitol is not safe.”

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