The U.S. Postal Service said Friday it will move two blue collection boxes in the vicinity of the state Capitol as a security measure to protect against possible upcoming "civil events" and to protect employees, the public and postal property.
The Post Office at 500 N. Last Chance Gulch will close the P.O. Box section at noon Saturday. Officials did not say when the section would reopen.
The collection boxes to be temporarily removed are at 1731 11th Ave. and 528 N. Sanders St.
Customers may find the nearest collection boxes in service or post office location on the USPS website at: https://tools.usps.com/find-location.htm.
Security was increased recently at the Montana State Capitol following the insurrection Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., in which five people died. An FBI bulletin warned of armed protests at all 50 state Capitols leading up to Inauguration Day.
The Associated Press reported Friday that some governors are expecting demonstrations and calling out National Guard troops, declaring states of emergency and closing their Capitols to the public ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week.
Brooke Stroyke, spokeswoman for Gov. Greg Gianforte, said he is working with law enforcement officers, monitoring the situation and continues to receive regular briefings.
No permits have been issued for any protests or events outside the Montana Capitol for the timeline laid out in the FBI bulletin.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said earlier his office has implemented plans, but that he could not discuss them in detail.
"We have taken it seriously and we do have plans in place to respond if the issues come to fruition," Dutton said. "We're prepared for it. We're not being passive about it. But also you won't notice us either. If things do happen, we do have people that will be ready."
Gianforte said Thursday he is sending 150 Army National Guard soldiers to Washington, D.C., to help provide security for Biden’s inauguration.
Assistant editor Phil Drake can be reached at 406-231-9021.