Armed Guards, Fences: Capitol Under Heavy Security Amid Trump Impeachment.

Armed Guards, Fences: Capitol Under Heavy Security Amid Trump Impeachment

Dozens of National Guards in body armor, camouflage could be seen resting on floors inside Capitol

Washington:

Lawmakers walked among armed National Guard patrols in the halls of the US Capitol on Wednesday, as downtown Washington was fenced off and boarded up while Congress weighed a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The city at the heart of American democracy has been a shadow of itself during pandemic shutdowns, but now it is also under heavy guard after Trump supporters' deadly attack on the Congress building.

Dozens of National Guard members in body armor and camouflage could be seen asleep or resting on floors inside the Capitol, their black rifles leaning against the polished stone walls of the building's halls.

Lawmakers are back in the building to decide whether to formally accuse the president of inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol last week in a failed effort to stop Congress from finalizing Trump's November loss to Joe Biden.

The building's grounds are ringed by a security fence erected after the attack, similar to the one put up around the White House months ago when protests erupted nationwide against police killings of African Americans.

kr4nha18

Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol Visitors Center on Capitol Hill in Washington

The capital of the United States, known for its historical monuments and crowds of tourists, has had a rough ride over the past 12 months.

'Ghost of itself'

Navigating the once humming downtown on foot, it is difficult to tell which buildings have been shuttered by the pandemic and which simply shut up shop due to the violent protests the city has been seeing.

"This is my first time (in downtown Washington) in a year. There's usually people walking all over the place. This is very, very quiet. I almost think it's like a ghost of itself," said Jaime, a mother from Maryland who did not wish to give her full name.

Hordes of schoolchildren who normally travel from all over the country to visit museums and see the White House now stay away, as do most foreign tourists.

The hectic jostle of politicians, lobbyists and lawyers on the street has also fallen quiet, while the large metro stations that bring workers in from suburbs are quiet and little-used.

The city of more than 700,000 inhabitants is subdued, one week before the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden on the steps of the Capitol.

"The city is basically desolate," said Nadine Seiler, 55, who has been demonstrating every day since the end of October near the White House in favor of anti-racist causes.

"Usually it's very stressful, but here it's like everybody's away on vacation," she added.

As in many Western cities, many workers have been signing in from home -- especially staff at big institutions headquartered in Washington such as the World Bank and the IMF, as well as the countless government agencies.

Newsbeep


Eateries must try to survive by erecting tents and marquees along sidewalks, and tempting customers to sit down next to heaters of varying efficiency battling the winter cold.

"I went to the Christmas market... that's gone, all that's gone. You go into bars, (previously) packed bars -- it's gone," laments Timothy Bartholomew, a resident of Arlington, just over the Potomac river.

Violent protests

According to the specialist site Eater, nearly 70 restaurants have permanently closed in Washington since the start of the pandemic, and many others are boarded up without any certainty they will ever reopen.

Violent protests and unrest have shaken Washington repeatedly in the last year.

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis in May, Washington became one of the hotspots of nationwide anti-racist demonstrations.

City authorities painted huge yellow letters reading "Black Lives Matter" across a wide street outside the White House, and the location became a popular site for rallies.

But over the months, clashes between anti-racist activists and pro-Trump protesters have brought an edge of tension to the city.

Roads and sidewalks have been gradually shut down around the White House, with the security cordon now holding people far back from Trump's residence.

Police cars keep their flashing lights on at all times, and block streets normally streaming with traffic, while high metal fences surround many government buildings such as the US Treasury.

Crowds cheering the inauguration on January 20 will be thin on the ground, with authorities urging Americans to avoid the city, fearing more violence.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news
Biden pledges to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

Biden pledges to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

President-elect Joe Biden is pledging to fix the United States' slow coronavirus vaccine rollout. CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe spoke with CBSN's Elaine Quijano about what the incoming Biden administration plan...

10-year-old girl writes emotional letter to DC police officer - WNT.

10-year-old girl writes emotional letter to DC police officer - WNT.

Emma Jablonski wrote a "get well" card to Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, who was seen in a video crushed against a metal door frame during the violent siege on the U.S. Capitol. WATCH THE FULL EPISODE OF 'WORLD NEWS TONIGHT'...

1 295

Trump plans military-style send-off for himself on Inauguration Day - WNT.

Trump plans military-style send-off for himself on Inauguration Day - WNT.

Sources tell ABC News that President Donald Trump hopes to depart the Oval Office to the sounds of a military band. WATCH THE FULL EPISODE OF 'WORLD NEWS TONIGHT': WATCH OTHER FULL EPISODES OF WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: WATCH WORLD NEWS TONIGHT ON HULU: ...

1 2309

Biden promises to deliver 100 million shots of vaccine in 1st 100 days - WNT.

Biden promises to deliver 100 million shots of vaccine in 1st 100 days - WNT.

President-elect Joe Biden said he will use the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to build 100 emergency vaccination centers around the country. WATCH THE FULL EPISODE OF 'WORLD NEWS TONIGHT': WATCH OTHER FULL EPISODES OF W...

Florida Restaurant Manager Saves Boy From Abuse, Police Say - NBC Nightly News.

Florida Restaurant Manager Saves Boy From Abuse, Police Say - NBC Nightly News.

Flavaine Carvalho, sensing distress from an 11-year-old boy with his family, secretly flashed the boy a note asking him if he needed help. When the boy said yes, Carvalho called 911. The boy’s stepfather faces three charges of aggravated child abu...

Impeachment Trial Looms Over Trump’s Final Days In Office - NBC Nightly News.

Impeachment Trial Looms Over Trump’s Final Days In Office - NBC Nightly News.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are preparing for the Senate impeachment trial, where they would need 17 Republicans to vote to convict President Trump. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of...