Downtown Washington looks like a fort. The perimeter of the White House and the Capitol is surrounded by ten-foot-high fences that on the other side guard an imposing deployment of the National Guard. Military trucks are seen and the faces of the Capitol robbers that the FBI is looking for appear on the bus shelters. Heavy concrete blocks impede the passage on some roads and from this Friday until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, next Wednesday, all parking lots in the area will remain blocked. In an attempt to deter those seeking to travel to the capital to protest on the day of the inauguration, Airbnb canceled all reservations and the main subway lines in the restricted area are closed until next Thursday.
In the capital of power, the inauguration of a president is a party. The first day postcard of a president addressing thousands of citizens from the heights of the Capitol is a kind of rite of passage. With the threat of new attacks organized by far-right groups, the image that Biden’s oath will leave will be completely different from those recorded in recent decades.
More than 20,000 soldiers will be in charge of security to support the Capitol police force after the “grave systemic failure” – in the words of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, led by Democrats – that allowed a mob of Trumpists to storm Congress last week. Added to this are the warnings from the FBI and the Pentagon about new riots for the inauguration of Biden. The latest in a series of extreme measures to reinforce security in the American capital is that the National Mall, the area of monuments located at the foot of Congress where citizens usually gather during the inaugural address, will be closed on the day of the inauguration. . Those who want to hear Lady Gaga singing the national anthem or see Jennifer Lopez perform should do so for streaming. The pandemic and the security alerts will mark the historic day.
The FBI has warned of possible armed protests in Washington and all 50 state Capitols in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration. The federal agency on Wednesday urged police chiefs across the country to be on high alert and share intelligence on any threats they find. The director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, informed the police of the possibility of attacks on federal buildings, houses of members of Congress and businesses.
The National Counterterrorism Center and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a bulletin this week warning that the five deaths in last week’s riots could be a “major driver of violence” for armed militia groups. Extremists seeking to unleash a race war “can take advantage of the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol by carrying out attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States,” the letter read. The violent episode of last week has put the security forces in charge of protecting Congress in the eye of the hurricane. The Capitol Police Chief and two other senior security officials resigned after the assault, three officers have been suspended and 17 are under investigation.
Following the events of January 6, supporters of Donald Trump are planning to travel to the capital to participate in the “March of the Million Militia” on January 20. Local authorities have asked people not to travel to the capital after last week’s riots. The metro will close 13 stations within the security perimeter of the center from this Friday, until next Thursday, and will modify the bus routes in the area. All parking lots in the restricted zone will remain locked and cars that are still parked there can only be moved after the takeover.
“Clearly, we are in uncharted territory and it is very important that we work with all our partners to ensure these events and those areas of our city,” said Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on Wednesday, who insisted on asking travelers to don’t visit the city next week.
A group of Washington activist organizations, including Black Lives Matter, called on hotels in the area to close prior to the inauguration, in a signal to Trump supporters that “white supremacists ARE NOT WELCOME to! [Washington] DC! ”, According to the message sent. Managers at various hotels are discussing whether to do so, as Airbnb has already agreed, according to an industry executive who spoke anonymously with the newspaper. The Washington Post.
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