National Guard troops deployed in Washington, D.C. for the Biden inaugural in the wake of the storming of the Capitol last week have been authorized to use lethal force, according to a report by U.S. News that cited a Defense Department official. The D.C. National Guard had issued a statement Wednesday that troops under its command had been authorized to carry weapons.
A reported 20,000 troops are being deployed in the nation’s capital. Checkpoints have been established. Razor wire topped fencing has been erected around the Capitol and Supreme Court, large swaths of official Washington have been blocked to vehicular traffic. Many Metro stations in downtown D.C. are completely closed. The Washington Monument is closed and the National Mall is set to be closed. Airbnb cancelled all reservations in the D.C. area for the period of the inauguration. Hotels are being pressured to do the same. The message to Americans is stay away from D.C.
Excerpt from U.S. News report:
THE 20,000 NATIONAL Guard troops preparing for pro-Trump demonstrations this weekend in the nation’s capital will be armed and permitted to use lethal force, the headquarters overseeing them says, marking a striking escalation in the way authorities there are preparing for repeat violence after last week’s deadly mob.
“On January 12, 2021, National Guardsmen were given authorization to be armed in support of the U.S. Capitol Police to protect the U.S. Capitol and individual members of Congress and their staff,” according to a statement from the D.C. National Guard, which is commanding Guard forces in the city, including units deployed from six other states, to provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
A defense official confirmed the authorization includes permission for Guard troops to use lethal force.
The request came from federal authorities and was approved by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy – who oversees D.C. Guard deployments since the District is not a state – indicating it was not a request from the local government.
More from the D.C. Guard statement issued Wednesday:
“Our objectives are to provide support to local authorities. To date, we are being asked to provide security, crowd management, traffic control, parking coordination, and medical and logistical support. The public’s safety is our top priority. Guardsmen are trained in the use of lethal and less-than-lethal force, de-escalation techniques, as well as the use of protective equipment. This is standard for civil disturbance response missions.”
The shutdowns and deployments:
“I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve had to clear a police/national guard checkpoint to get to my office in DC. Security measures are now extensive and span far back from the Capitol.”
Airbnb: Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are announcing that Airbnb will cancel reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the Inauguration week. Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations…We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community. As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb. Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.”
The National Mall (via CNN): “The National Mall will be closed to the general public on Inauguration Day due to security concerns, according to an official familiar with discussions. The official said there will be no big screens, no toilets, no panels were people stand, and that the public will not be able to get down to the mall where traditionally thousands gather to watch the new president be sworn in. President-elect Joe Biden’s advisers, who are helping plan the inaugural, say it is intended to be a virtual event. They did not object to heightened security restrictions recommended by authorities pertaining to the Mall or the area surrounding the White House.”
Washington Monument (via Park Service): “Groups involved in the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021. This includes the set up and execution of inaugural events, which occur in several park areas. In response, the National Park Service will suspend tours of the Washington Monument beginning January 11, 2021 through January 24, 2021 and may institute temporary closures of public access to roadways, parking areas and restrooms within the National Mall and Memorial Parks if conditions warrant, to protect public safety and park resources. These temporary closures may be extended if the conditions persist.”
The Trump Hotel will remain open: