Central Washington is an armed fortress, fenced off with razor wire and surrounded by 25,000 National Guard troops ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, a stark contrast to previous inaugurations, when the United States capital celebrated for days.
The COVID-19 pandemic had already canceled the inaugural balls. Now the National Mall is closed to the public due to threats of violence from groups who attacked the US Capitol on January 6. Almost none of the public will witness firsthand the transition of power, souring the mood of Washingtonians.
The #US #Capitol complex was shut down for about an hour out of an abundance of caution after a small fire nearby, underscoring security jitters days before President-elect Joe #Biden’s inauguration.https://t.co/o6u40ViKyg— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 18, 2021
But the flags will be out - possibly as many as 200,000 from all over America.
Previous inaugurations sometimes drew over a million spectators to the National Mall, to watch the ceremony from giant television screens and the new president parading on foot from the Capitol to the White House. Balls and parties in hotel ballrooms and convention halls across the city feted guests with champagne and music from A-list stars.
Presidential inaugurations are normally high-security events, but the level of precautions this year is unprecedented.