In Footage: Troops, riot fencing and razor wire in Washington DC | Gallery Information
Central Washington is an armed fortress fenced in with barbed wire and surrounded by 25,000 National Guard troops ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The COVID-19 pandemic had already canceled the opening balls. The National Mall is now closed to the public due to threats of violence from groups that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Almost none of the citizens will witness the change in power firsthand, which is clouding the mood of Washingtoners.
“It’s like a ghost town, but with soldiers,” said Dana O’Connor, who walked past concrete barriers near the White House with her husband on Sunday. “It’s scary. It feels super unnatural. “
Previous inaugurations sometimes drew over a million spectators to the National Mall to watch the ceremony on giant television screens and walk the new president from the Capitol to the White House. Balls and parties in the hotel’s ballrooms and convention halls across the city celebrated guests with champagne and music from A-list stars.
Presidential inaugurations are typically high-security events where metal detectors at key entry points, restricted ID zones, and the National Guard complement local and federal law enforcement agencies. But the precautions taken this year are unprecedented.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that police officers had no choice but to increase security following the deadly attack on the Capitol in which “so-called patriots are trying to overthrow their government and kill police officers” .
“We don’t want to see fences. We definitely don’t want to see armed troops on our streets. But we have to take a different stance, ”Bowser said on NBC’s Meet the Press program.
DowntownDC Business Improvement District estimates that the city will see little of the $ 107 million in tax revenue that a week of housewarming typically brings with it.