Authorities plan to erect a temporary fence around the Capitol for President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony, and beef up security for the event in general after a mob of Trump supporters was able to storm the building.
The Pentagon will deploy more than 5,000 National Guard troops from several states to Washington to stay through the Jan. 20 inauguration, according to a Pentagon official. That comes in addition to 1,100 District of Columbia National Guard troops mobilized to confront the violent mob on Wednesday.
In addition, officials said a 7-foot (2.1 meter) non-scalable fence will be erected around the Capitol and remain in place through the inauguration.
“We’re obviously concerned about the 20th. We’re concerned about the days leading up to the 20th,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Thursday. “But I think we as Americans have to also ask ourselves, is this going to be a new normal in America?”
The steps on the west side of the Capitol, where Biden will take the oath of office, was the scene of violence Wednesday as thousands of Trump supporters clashed with police trying to hold them back with tear gas, batons, and flash-bang devices.
Hundreds of protesters eventually broke through barricades and occupied scaffolding and other infrastructure already in place for the presidential inauguration. Many chanted and waved Trump flags, and some used the scaffolding to enter the Capitol building itself, where lawmakers were in the midst of an historic vote to certify Biden’s election.
Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, told reporters that security for the event needs a “really hard look” in the wake of the riot.
“There’s always a significant security concern there,” said Blunt.
— With assistance by Anthony Capaccio
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