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New Mexico Republicans ask to remove barriers around Capitol

February 24, 2021 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in New Mexico have asked that the state remove protective barriers erected around the state Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection in which supporters of former President Donald Trump broke into the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Republicans in the state legislature asked the Legislative Council on Tuesday to remove the fences around the facility, arguing that “the threat has not materialized.”

The council had voted earlier this year to implement chain-link fencing along with concrete barriers after the violent U.S. Capitol riots. The council is made up of state lawmakers from both political parties.

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Six Republican leaders in the state legislature sent a letter to the top Democratic lawmakers that said the fencing “creates the perception that our government leaders are afraid of the state’s citizens and there is a division between those who govern and the general public.”

The director of the Legislative Council Service, Raul Burciaga, said Tuesday that he is reviewing the letter and plans to meet with Democratic leaders to discuss the issue, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Since the legislative session began in January, state police officers and New Mexico National Guardsmen have patrolled the Capitol and checked ID for everyone entering the building.

The state Capitol is closed to the public due to health restrictions implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.