Washington, DC, looks like a city under occupation

4 min read
The US Capitol is behind a sprawling fence. Local police have set up a wide perimeter. Armed National Guard members are on the Mall.
The heart of America's capital looks like occupied territory.

After the President Donald Trump-incited insurrection of the Capitol last week, a massive force is protecting the building and its surroundings from another possible attack. A sprawling black fence encircles the entire perimeter of the building and its nearby surroundings, with armed National Guard members, Capitol Police, and Secret Service agents standing sentinel on both sides.

Their mandate, it appears, is to ensure a peaceful transition of power through President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration Day. However, many members of the National Guard on duty I spoke to — all on the condition of anonymity to enable them to speak freely and avoid retribution — said they haven't received any concrete orders regarding when they will leave Washington, DC.

Until they do, they go about their jobs, staying overnight in nearby hotels or trying to catch a few winks on the floor of the Capitol building, waiting to hear when they can go home — which they expect will be after Biden is sworn in.

What's clear, though, is that their presence has brought downtown Washington, DC, to a grinding halt.

Fencing around the Capitol extends for AWHILE pic.twitter.com/qTIwPpN5o5 — Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox) January 13, 2021

Local police have set up a perimeter throughout the city using flares and parked police cars multiple blocks from the National Mall. Trucks belonging to the DC National Guard have obstructed main roads into the downtown area.…
Alex Ward
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