(The Center Square) — A right-wing protest at the Washington State Capitol planned for Sunday has been canned after hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the fences of the governor's mansion on Wednesday.
Tyler Miller, founder of the right-wing group, Liberty, At All Hazards, organized the event to convince lawmakers to reopen the Capitol building to the general public during the pandemic.
On Thursday, Miller said during a Facebook livestream that there was no possible way through event could succeed in light of the nation's heated political climate.
He said the event, which was backed by the state's Washington Three Percenters militia, was likely to draw the kind of violence and chaos seen in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
"I'm not going to go to an event that I know is going to be sabotaged," Miller said. "People that I know and trust, because I've seen them follow through on their promises before, have said it's going to happen. We would be naive in the extreme to think that it won't."
Miller still encouraged supporters of his Facebook page to attend other rallies planned at the state's Capitol building.
On Wednesday, Washington state saw some 300 supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate at the Capitol building in Olympia to protest the 2020 presidential elections results.
The protest was hosted by such far-right figures as Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson, who parroted growing conspiracy theories of mass voter fraud.
Later in the day, the crowd marched to the Washington governor's mansion where dozens of armed Trump supporters jumped the fence surrounding it, occupying the front lawn for some time before being driven back by local and state police. No major damages to the building were reported.
Spokespeople with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) reported making no arrests so as to not "escalate" the situation.
That same situation saw an armed Trump supporter threaten Sara Gentzler, a reporter with Thurston County's The Olympian, and another journalist.
"We're going to shoot you f**king dead in the next year," the man can be heard on video screaming at the two before reaching for her phone.
Washington Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in condemning violence at the state and national Capitol buildings on Wednesday.
"We need the press more than ever in this covid-wracked year to shine a light on Olympia," Wilcox tweeted on Thursday. "All of us need to stand up for the press."
Washington GOP state Chair Caleb Heimlich said such violence in D.C. was un-American.
"Violence, intimidation, and disruption of the business of the People’s House is wholly unacceptable, and it flies in the face of our nation’s foundational values," Heimlich wrote in a statement.
WSP officials reported Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his family were in a safe location during Wednesday's events.
State law enforcement agencies have acknowledged their unpreparedness for the incidents at the governor's mansion.
“No, we were not prepared for that particular incident," WSP Sgt. Darren Wright told Kiro7 News. "We had resources staged outside the area, which took a little while to get here. We had not had this occurrence before."
In December, a protest in front of the state Capitol building saw three people arrested after a brawl between far-right Proud Boys and anti-fascists left one person shot by an unidentified suspect.
Speaking to KIMA TV, Wright said the parade of armed gunmen at the Capitol building was not a concern to law enforcement.
“If someone was carrying a rifle but they are not being aggressive or intimidating or threatening with that, then it’s not an issue," Wright said. "If someone is carrying a stick and swinging it at us in a violent manner and wielding it in a manner that's a weapon, then we will react to that."
Inslee said on Wednesday that "acts of intimidation" in the nation's Capitol and in Washington "will not succeed in any way, shape, or form."
His remarks dug into President Trump in particular for promoting conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election results.
"I know we are going through a moment of great turmoil," Inslee said. "Passions are high, in part because we have suffered serial and constant untruths being told to citizens from the highest office in the land. But I am confident we are on the verge of overcoming this."
Law enforcement officials have reported growing rumors of plans to occupy state Capitol buildings around the country like in Oregon, where violent pro-Trump protests have become more frequent.
Inslee has since announced 750 members of the National Guard will be guarding the state capitol building in Olympia on Monday.
There will be designated areas for demonstrations on the capitol mall fencing that day, according to the governor, and overseen by security personnel.
"We sincerely hope for peaceful actions but if that does not happen, we will be prepared," Inslee said.
Olympia is slated to see at least two right-wing protests in the coming days.
First is the "We of Liberty Freedom Rally" on Sunday at the state capitol building followed by "Rise Up Washington" on Monday when Washington lawmakers will meet in-person to approve a remote 2021 legislative session.