After an announcement this week that federal agents were pulling out of Portland, the US president announced more agents would be going to Albuquerque to combat violent crime in the city,
Activists organised by the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice gathered at a park and announced their intent to push back on any “Portland style occupation” of their city by federal law enforcement agencies.
“When Trump sends stormtroopers here, we will greet them with nonviolence,” Jim Harvey, director of the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice said.
Mr Trump and attorney general William Barr announced last week that federal agents would be deployed to other cities, including Albuquerque, but they would not be outfitted in tactical gear like the agents in Portland.
The city’s mayor, Tim Kelle, voiced his concern that federal agents would be deployed to his city, but said he’d been promised that agents would not engage in heavy-handed protest suppression of the sort seen in Portland.
“The US attorney has provided a written guarantee that Operation Legend will not be what we saw in Portland,” Mr Keller said in a statement, invoking the nickname for the federal surge. “However, we remain concerned about the president’s own words that contradict these assurances.”
KOB4 News reported that Albuquerque was establishing a city-run service meant to help residents organise peaceful protests and demonstrations.
The city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion said it was establishing a website and hotline for residents organising for any cause.
“We are committed to protecting the civil rights of all of our residents, including the First Amendment right to protest,” Mr Keller said. “That’s why we are finding new ways to connect with organisers about critical information to help keep them safe as they plan their First Amendment activities.”
In addition to establishing the hotline, police said they would begin enforcing the state’s gun laws, which ban individuals to bring deadly weapons to protests.
According to KRQE News, officers will give offenders a verbal warning, allowing them to either leave the protest or hand over their weapons to police. If those who have been warned do not comply within 10 minutes, police will arrest them.