VPIRG Statement on Expected Protests in Montpelier

At VPIRG, we’re not generally in the business of urging people not to demonstrate or protest peacefully. These are time-honored tactics by which we make our voices heard and show the breadth of support for our campaigns. In fact, the day after the election in November we co-sponsored a State House rally aimed at making sure every vote got counted nationally.

But just this once, I am urging you to avoid any protests that may take place in Montpelier over the weekend or on Wednesday, January 20th, Inauguration Day.

Local, state, and federal officials have all cited the threat of violence, as armed pro-Trump extremists are being urged to descend on all 50 state capitals. In Montpelier, schools have already been closed for the day on the 20th, as have government buildings.

Our hope is that anyone who does show up to protest peacefully in Montpelier will leave their guns at home. But we cannot be certain that will happen, and after last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, and with COVID cases spiking to record levels here in Vermont, we believe this is not the time for direct counter protests or personal engagement.

There will be time again to gather in protest or in celebration at the State House in Montpelier. And all of us at VPIRG are looking forward to that day. For now, we urge you to be safe.