Thursday, February 29, 2024

Washington is fortified amid fears of more violence

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Thousands of National Guard soldiers flocked to Washington on Saturday as the capital was walled for Joe Biden’s inauguration, amid fears of a repeat of violence that killed five people on American parliament January 6th.

The Pentagon approved the deployment of 25,000 National Guard troops for the inauguration, as state capitals responded to an FBI warning of possible armed protests in the United States in the coming days.

The massive military presence makes Washington look like a war zone. Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, has implemented a state of emergency until January 21, the day after the inauguration.

Washington braced for possible violence following assault on Capitol Hill by pro-Trump supporters that sparked second Accused by Donald Trump.

A sign with information for pedestrians is visible on a pole on Saturday as members of the National Guard secure the area near the Capitol for a possible demonstration before the inauguration © REUTERS

Much of the capital was embarked on weekends, while the National Mall that stretches from Congress to the Lincoln Memorial has been closed. A metal fence was erected around the Capitol, as airports increased security measures before the inauguration on January 20.

US media reported that Capitol Police On Friday, he arrested a man from Virginia who was attempting to go through a security checkpoint in downtown Washington with fake ID, a gun and more than 500 rounds.

Concerns about guns prompted Facebook to ban ads promoting weapon accessories – extending the existing ban on ads for weapons – and protective gear “out of caution.”

Security preparations – more intensive than for any grand opening in history – added a surreal dimension to an event that had been drastically reduced due to the pandemic. The military presence comes as the Senate prepares to hold a trial to determine whether Mr. Trump should be convicted of inciting an insurgency.

The outgoing president refused to attend the inauguration, breaking a long tradition. Instead, it will leave Washington for its Mar a Lago complex in Florida before Mr. Biden is inaugurated Wednesday before noon. Mr Biden will deliver a speech at the inauguration, which will include musical performances by Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.

A worker pulls cables as preparations take place for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Saturday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington © AP

Ron Klain, the new White House chief of staff, said on Saturday that Mr Biden would use his first 10 days in office to issue executive orders to overturn measures taken by Mr Trump, including rescinding the ban on traveling Muslims and the return of the Paris climate agreement.

Mr Biden will also be launching a “100-day masking challenge” which will include a mandate that masks will be worn on federal property and also when traveling from state to state.

The president-elect made larger appointments, appointing Wendy Sherman as Assistant Secretary of State and Victoria Nuland as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He has also appointed many women to senior positions on the National Security Council, including Laura Rosenberger who will occupy the critical role of senior director for China.

Mr Biden will travel from his home in Delaware to Washington on Tuesday and spend the night before his grand opening at Blair House, the state guesthouse across from the White House.

In recent days, Trump administration officials have been seen leaving the White House with belongings as they left their offices. Chinese trade hawk Peter Navarro was seen carrying a huge photo from a meeting with President Xi Jinping while the wife of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was pictured carrying a stuffed bird off the field.

A law enforcement official sweeps a seating area for spectators as preparations take place for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony © AP

As the capital prepared for the inauguration, Republicans who backed Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election result or were accused of inciting recent violence, continued to lose financial support.

Loews Hotels has canceled a fundraiser that Josh hawley, the Republican senator from Missouri, who was one of the strongest supporters of the baseless allegation of voter fraud, predicted Orlando for February. “We are horrified and opposed to the events on Capitol Hill and to all who supported and instigated the actions,” Loews tweeted.

Mr Hawley is one of the many Republicans who are widely believed to want to run for President in 2024.

To follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter


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