Ahead of president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in the United States, the centre of Washington was put on lockdown with over 20,000 armed National Guard troops on the streets days after the violence in Capitol which stunned the nation.
Police chief Robert Contee said the country’s capital was facing “a major security threat” with downtown Washington off-limits to traffic.
Amid the unprecedented security, reports said the US Secret Service is contemplating shutdown of the entire National Mall running from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial where people traditionally gather to celebrate the inauguration of a new president.
US officials had earlier warned of armed protests in Washington and all 50 states by pro-Trump supporters with some law enforcement officials saying that the violence to spill beyond Washington.
US airlines United Airlines, Delta and American have announced that they will not allow travellers flying to Washington area airports to check firearms on their flights.
National railroad service Amtrak informed that it was deploying additional police officers on its trains.
However, Vice President Mike Pence assured the nation that his administration will ensure a “safe inauguration”.
“We’re going to ensure that we have a safe inauguration and that president-elect Joe Biden, vice president-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in as the new president and vice president,” Pence said in his first public appearance since the January 6 violence at the Capitol.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that he was “concerned about the potential for violence at multiple protests and rallies planned here in DC and at state capitol buildings around the country.”