Capitol Fencing Is Going Up for State of the Union Address

Washington prepares for truck convoys to disrupt traffic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 27, 2022 10:45 AM CST
Fence Goes Back Up Before State of the Union, Protests
Security fencing was up around the Capitol in Washington last September.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Fencing that circled the US Capitol for months after the January 2021 insurrection will be put back up before President Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday, as concern grows about potential demonstrations or truck convoys snarling 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 being put up in consultation with the Secret Service, the AP reports.

Washington officials also are preparing for trucker convoys that are planning protests against pandemic restrictions beginning this week. The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 700 unarmed National Guard troops to be used to assist with traffic control during potential demonstrations. Manger said his force's "mission to protect the United States Congress, the Capitol, and the legislative process remains unwavering." The fence had been a stark symbol of the fear many in the Capitol felt after the mob pushed its way past police officers, broke through windows and doors and ransacked the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify Biden's electoral win. It remained up for several months.

The US Capitol Police Board had approved a plan to briefly reinstall the fence for a rally in September that was organized to support people who remained jailed in connection with the insurrection. Law enforcement officers and members of the media vastly outnumbered the protesters, and only a few incidents were reported. Manger said Capitol Police have also requested additional assistance from outside law enforcement agencies before Tuesday's address, on top of the request for help from the National Guard. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee has said his department would be devoting additional policing in a rolling state of heightened alert over the next few weeks.

(More US Capitol stories.)

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