Hours away from the Presidential inauguration themed ‘America United’ in Washington DC where Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20th, there is heightened security amidst fears of an insider attack. The Capitol Hill riot on January 6th is fresh of people’s minds where pro-Donald Trump supporters attacked the United States joint session of the Congress in an attempt to overthrow Biden’s victory and US defence officials are not taking any more chances. There are also concerns of large gathering of the public amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which makes this Presidential inauguration different from the previous years.
The FBI is vetting 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event and that the people assigned to oversee security arrangements in the city over the next several days could themselves present a threat to Biden and other VIPs who will be part of the event. The number of National Guard troops is two and a half times more than the number deployed for previous inaugurals. There have been long security drills ahead of the event even as guard members are being trained to identify potential insider threats.
One of the routine checks is running people’s names through databases to see if there is anything unusual. Those posing potential threats have been attributed to supporters of President Donald Trump, far-right militants, white supremacists and other radical groups. The theory that election results were rigged and that Trump is the real winner of the November 2020 elections is professed by many and the Capitol Hill riots were an outcome of Trump’s call to action which resulted in the death of five people including a Police officer in the violence.
Here are the restrictions that are imposed:
- For past Presidential elections, hundreds of thousands of Americans, many of whom had travelled to the capital from other states, usually gathered on the National Mall. This is the park which is flanked by the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian museums, US Capitol and White House. This time people are being discouraged to travel from other parts of the country for the Presidential inauguration while the National Mall will be closed to the public.
- Viewing stands will not be erected and compared to 2,00,000 tickets sold for previous inaugurations, the number of tickets available this year will be 1,000 which will be given out and Congressmen will only be allowed to bring one guest.
- Biden will not be travelling by the Amtrack train from his home in Delaware to Washington DC due to security concerns. Biden wanted to mark his years as a senator where he travelled two hours by train from his home to the Congress for three decades.
The inauguration will be a star studded one where singer Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem while Jennifer Lopez will stage a performance as well. Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President on the steps at the west front of the Capitol by Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday.