The entire National Mall in Washington will be closed, more than a dozen subway stations will be closed, and more than 10,000 National Guard troops will invade the city on Wednesday for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
But an FBI warning of possible armed protests at state capitol buildings across the country next week, as well as likely gatherings in other cities, raises questions about whether the country can be fully prepared for possible violence in the coming days.
Groups hunting down far-right organizations have said preparations for more violence are underway by supporters of Donald Trump who mistakenly believe he won the 2020 election, a revelation that hardly surprises the historian from the University of Maryland, Terry Bouton.
Terry Bouton, who has joined or attended dozens of protests in Washington over the past two decades, says he hasn’t seen anything quite like what happened on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. And he wasn’t even close enough to see the chaos inside.
“Some people were so angry, screaming in outrage, but it all seemed so well organized and orchestrated,” Bouton said. “If they use similar tactics elsewhere, they will end up pissing off a lot of people who did not come and engage in violence.”
In DC, tours were halted at the Washington Monument. The Washington Post and NBC News report that the entire National Mall, which spans more than 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial in the west end to the U.S. Capitol in the east, will be closed on Wednesday.
In New York, the NYPD says it is stepping up security at Trump Tower as a precaution.
“From now on, until the inauguration, we will have a strong presence in the sites affiliated with Trump,” the police department announced days after the riot on Capitol Hill. “After the inauguration, we will reassess our security posture.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that there were no tangible threats against the city.
We are fully prepared if we emerge to shift the resources in place to address it quickly.
In Los Angeles, six people were arrested after several fighting erupted on Wednesday as dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside City Hall. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said there were no known threats but that he was “monitoring the situation” and would be ready in the event of protests or violence.
“You can’t watch them,” warns Bouton. “They got kicked from Twitter and Talk, so they’re now on cryptic sites and who knows what they’re talking about.”