Small group of armed protesters gather at Arizona Capitol over election, power concerns


PHOENIX (NewsNation Now) — A small crowd gathered peacefully Sunday at the Arizona Capitol for a pro-President Donald Trump rally that attendees say had no plans to enter the Capitol building.

As the FBI warned, some members of the protest were armed, but participants told NewsNation they had no intention of engaging in violence.

Some of the supporters expressed frustration at the resources spent to fortify the complex in Phoenix. But there was also understanding.

“I understand it, you know? We had some individuals who did something way inappropriate. So they’re just doing what they think is right,” said one rallygoer. “And to be honest, I think this is more just of a way of expressing their desire not to be ran through. No one would want that. That’s someone’s job in there [motions towards Arizona Capitol].”

The Capitol was surrounded by two lines of fencing and coils of razor wire. Rallygoer Aaron Kotzbauer said while many in attendance were angry over the election, they were also angry with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

“Really just to draw light and to draw attention to the fact that the state legislature should take back power from the government — the governor, specifically, that he doesn’t have autocratic authority to make edicts; him and the head of health services, to arbitrarily pick winners and losers. To say ‘This institution is safe to open, where this business is not safe to open,'” said rallygoer Aaron Kotzbauer.

According to Kotzbauer, like-minded Arizonans have been coordinating actions through text and email chains, though he senses more apathy since the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Meantime, extra patrols are making the rounds and are at the ready in case things flare-up in the days ahead.

Arizona public safety officials remain on alert for any specific threats in Phoenix.

“I think that true patriots are going to continue to stand up, voice our opinions — peacefully, very peacefully, and respectfully — and ask our state representatives to take back the power from the governor,” said Kotzbauer. “They have the ability to call a special session and actually limit [Gov. Doug Ducey’s] powers.”

Ducey has the Arizona National Guard on call for this week, but those who were in attendance Sunday said they do not expect they’ll need to be activated.

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