• Sunday, Jan 16, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

US beefs up security measures as Election Day nears

  • Published at 06:24 pm November 2nd, 2020
A man is arrested by police-US Election-White House
A man is arrested by police as he takes part during a protest against the Far Right in New York City on November 1, 2020 AFP

Fences have been erected around the White House, where demonstrators gathered Saturday night to protest against President Donald Trump

With Election Day on Tuesday, enhanced security measures can be seen across the United States, a country that is bracing for possible violence related to the high-stakes presidential election.

In Washington, DC, shopfronts are boarding up their windows with plywood or putting up other makeshift barriers, some of them stretching nearly entire blocks.

"We do not have any intelligence on planned activity to suggest the need to board up; however, we remain vigilant," John Falcicchio, deputy mayor of Washington, DC for planning and economic development, said in a statement.

"We understand the difficult position building owners and operating businesses are in, and we call upon all who participate in First Amendment activities to denounce violence and report it immediately should it occur," he said.

Fences have been erected around the White House, where demonstrators gathered Saturday night to protest against President Donald Trump. Cardboards on which anti-Trump slogans were written were attached on the fences.

Similar scenes of businesses protecting their properties also appeared on the streets in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked residents to express their political opinions in a safe way. "What I'm encouraging people to do is to express themselves... but do it in a way that honours our traditions," she said during a news conference on Friday. "We don't have the right to take out our frustration, our anger, on someone else."

Chicago "is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to planning for" Election Day security arrangement, Rich Guidice, executive director of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said in a press conference this month. 

While officials said there have been no credible threats of violence on or after the Election Day, which this year falls on November 3, they could not stress more about being vigilant against those incidents.

Meanwhile, Washington, DC police have limited leave for officers to ensure adequate staff, and the District spent 100,000 dollars on less-lethal munitions and chemical irritants for riot control to replenish a stockpile depleted by clashes over the summer, the Washington Post reported.

Police advisory signs were put up on light poles along streets adjacent to the White House, prohibiting the use of firearms during demonstrations starting Saturday and extending for five days after the election.

Shutdown DC, an activist group in the nation's capital, is organizing weeks-long demonstrations starting Tuesday, calling on participants to join in on election night, as an event is planned at the Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is a block away from the White House. The event will include a giant screen showing election results, as well as performances by bands playing Washington's signature go-go music.

George Washington University in Washington, DC has recommended that students prepare for Election Day as they would for disasters like snowstorm or hurricane and stockpile food, supplies and medicine enough for a week's consumption.

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