Officials plan to reinstall the fence around the US Capitol that stood for months after the January 2021 uprising
WASHINGTON — Fences put up around the U.S. Capitol for months after the January 2021 uprising will be put back in place ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday as concern grows over potential protests or convoys of trucks that rumble through traffic in the nation’s capital.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement Sunday that the fence will be erected around the Capitol building for the speech and is erected “out of an abundance of caution,” in consultation with the Secret Service.
The move comes as Washington officials brace for convoys of truckers planning protests against pandemic restrictions starting this week. The Pentagon has already approved the deployment of 700 unarmed National Guard troops who will be used to assist with traffic control during potential protests.
Modeled on recent trucker protests in Canada, separate truck convoys have been planned through online forums. Many have different departure points, departure dates, and routes, though some must arrive in time for the State of the Union address. Others may come later.
Manger said his force’s “mission to protect the United States Congress, the Capitol, and the legislative process remains steadfast.” said Manger.
The fence had been a stark symbol of the fear felt by many Capitol residents after crowds forced their way past overwhelmed police officers, burst through windows and doors and ransacked the Capitol as Congress voted for certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory. It remained in place for several months.
The United States Capitol Police Board had approved a plan to briefly reinstall the fence for a September rally in support of those who remained imprisoned in connection with the insurgency. Law enforcement and members of the media greatly outnumbered protesters and only a few incidents were reported.
Manger said Capitol police also requested additional assistance from outside law enforcement ahead of Tuesday’s speech, in addition to the National Guard’s request for assistance.
Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee said his department is closely monitoring changing information and will dedicate additional police services to a state of heightened alert over the coming weeks.