‘External security threat’: homeless camp fire put U.S. Capitol on lockdown
Capitol police officers stand outside of fencing that was installed around the exterior of the Capitol grounds, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington. Image via AP.

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Washington is on high alert two days before Joe Biden's inauguration.

The U.S. Capitol went under lockdown Monday morning, roughly 48 hours before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and less than two weeks since insurrectionists took control of the building.

NBC News reports that the following message was sent to Capitol staff: “All buildings within the Capitol Complex: External security threat, no entry or exit is permitted, stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover.”

“All buildings within the Capitol Complex: Due to an external security threat located under the bridge on I-295 at First and F Streets SE, no entry or exit is permitted at this time,” the message continues.

Reports from D.C. are that the security threat was a fire at a homeless encampment some blocks away from the Capitol near the Navy Yard.

The latest security incident comes as tensions have been roiled in the nation’s capital, with election disputes egged on by the President and his supporters despite thwarted court challenges and state level certifications ratifying the popular vote at every level. Those disputes reached their sorry climax on Jan. 6, when thousands of President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol after Trump and key allies gave a series of incendiary speeches and urged a march forward to send a message to lawmakers.

As the Associated Press noted, the President gave an incendiary speech at a rally planned by key allies under the aegis of the “Women for America First” group. That organization included paid top level campaign staffers from the President’s failed 2020 reelection effort.

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” Trump said to the crowd on the Ellipsis on Jan. 6.

With D.C. exiting the Trump era as heavily policed and fortified as any capital city in the world, it’s clear that kind of display of force has spotlighted the need to ensure security is tightened up, and that any proximate threat is treated as a potential replay of the violence and debasement of Jan. 6.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]



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