After the devastating events of January 6, 2021, fencing was installed around the U.S. Capitol, where it remained for multiple months. In light of President Joe Biden’s upcoming “State of the Union” address on March 1, the fencing will be re-installed following concerns regarding possible truck convoys or other protests that may snarl traffic throughout the capital of the nation.
According to Tom Manger, who serves as Chief of the Capitol Police, the fencing around Capitol Hill has been resurfaced once again “out of of an abundance of caution,” in conjunction with the Secret Service.
Numerous officials in Washington, D.C. are presently preparing for convoys of truckers intending to protest pandemic restrictions, starting this week. In preparation for protestors, the Pentagon has already issued approval for the deployment of 700 unarmed National Guard troops. The troops are set to provide assistance with air traffic control over the course of possible disruptions during the demonstrations.
The freedom convoys aim to model the recent protests initiated by truckers in Canada, as they have been planned and organized through various online platforms. Several different convoys have different departure dates, starting points, and riving routes, although some trucks are poised to arrive right on time for the president’s State of the Union speech. Still other truckers may arrive after the address.
According to the aforementioned Manger, the main mission of the Capitol Police is “to protect the United States Congress, the Capitol, and the legislative process remains unwavering.”
After the events of January 6, the fence encircling the Capitol had long served as a clear symbol of the fear and anxiety that many across D.C. felt after the mob sailed passed law enforcement and ransacked the building while Congress was in the process of certifying the electoral win for Biden. The fencing remained up for multiple months after the riot.
In addition, the U.S. Capitol Police Board also issued approval for reinstalling the fence around the Capitol in September, given the protest planned for supporting individuals who remain in jail in connection with the events of January 6. However, the protestors in September were vastly outnumbered by the law enforcement and media officials present, with only a few incidents reported.
For Biden’s State of the Union address, however, Manger noted that Capitol Police have requested further assistance from various law enforcement entities prior to the speech, alongside the aforementioned help from the National Guard.
In addition, Robert Contee, who serves as the Metropolitan Police Department Chief, declared that additional policing would be devoted during states of heightened alert over the next several weeks.