When are the US Capitol protests and how can I avoid them?

THE FBI has warned police departments nationwide to be on high alert of potentially violent protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

If you're out and about in the days leading up to Inauguration Day, here are some tips on how to avoid the mayhem.

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When are the US Capitol protests in DC?

The FBI warned police officials across the nation that "armed protests" are being planned in all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington DC.

In DC, the FBI are bracing for violence including explosives at Biden's inauguration, as the National Guard gave it's soldiers the green light to use lethal force.

However, The federal agency did not give a specific day on when the riots will take place, only saying to be on high alert in the days leading up to January 20.

Where else in the US are protests happening?

The warning to police officials nationwide was issued by FBI Director Christopher Wray and acting United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli.

In a January 13 notice, federal officials stated that anti-government militias and extremist groups "very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats."

State and local officials are already taking preparations into their own hands with less than a week before Inauguration Day.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina told the New York Times that Wray told them to "overshare intelligence," adding that "they don't want for us to assume anything that they already know – anything that we come across to please forward it."

New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy announced that state employees are ordered to work remotely on January 20, due to the "level of tension in the country."

On January 14, Biden's inauguration rehearsal was postponed amid security fears after Waray warned of "concerning chatter" online.

Biden's Saturday run-through has been pushed back to January 18, and his scheduled train journey from Wilmington, Delaware, to DC has been axed over threats of violence, sources told Politico.

Why are people protesting?

Supporters of Donald Trump are continuing to protest the president's election loss to Biden.

The FBI's warning comes amid a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol on January 6, which turned deadly.

Rioters interrupted Congress members as they were certifying the official count of the Electoral College votes.

Overall, five individuals died, including Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick, and four Trump supporters, Roseanne Boyland, 34, Kevin Greeson, 55, Ashli Babbitt, 35, and Benjamin Phillips, 50.

How can I avoid them?

Below are some tips and course of action to take if you find yourself surrounded by a protest, or in a area where a demonstration has taken place.

  • Stay up to date with current news or contact your embassy and request regular updates if you are in a volatile area.
  • If you hear that a demonstration is taking place, avoid the area or stay in your accommodation until you are sure that it's safe to go out.
  • Before you go out, establish where the demonstration has taken place, and if possible avoid the area.
  • Avoid any place where police or security force action is in progress.
  • If you come across a demonstration, don't be curious just leave the area and find another route to your intended destination
  • If you find yourself caught up in a protest or riot keep to the edge of the crowd where it is safest. Try not to be identified as one of the demonstrators by keeping well away from the leaders/agitators
  • At the first opportunity break away and seek refuge in a nearby building, or find a suitable doorway or alley and stay there until the crowd passes
  • If you find yourself in a car with a protest around you, turn down the nearest side road, reverse or turn around and drive away calmly
  • If you cannot drive away, park the car, lock it and leave it, take shelter in a side street or doorway
  • If you don't have time for this, stop and turn the engine off. Lock the doors and remain calm. Be sure not to show hostility or anger.

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