Washington beefs up security, shuts down landmarks for upcoming inauguration

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With only a few days left until the presidential inauguration on January 20, the United States (US) capital Washington DC has beefed up security by shutting down metro stations, setting up checkpoints in the central city area and has closed the National Mall.

The number of police officers and military troops present in the city increased significantly compared to the previous day on Friday as new barricades have been set up around major landmarks and government buildings.

The National Park Service announced the closure of the National Mall on Friday while workers were seen erecting high fences around it.

“It will be fine. The inauguration will be good. But it’s sad that this is how the inauguration is going to be for us. Usually, this is open. Ten of thousands of people, we get to see the new President being inaugurated. We can’t do that this year, because of the violence that we saw last week,” said a resident.

Checkpoints were also set up on nearby roads with National Guard soldiers checking documents and questioning drivers at each post.

In order to ensure a safe and orderly inauguration, the Pentagon will send up to 25 000 National Guard soldiers to the presidential inauguration, the US Department of Defense said on Friday at a press conference.

As of Thursday, over 7 000 soldiers from various states had arrived in the capital.

On Friday, the city closed 13 metro stations in the designated key areas, so only a few passengers were seen on the train heading to downtown Washington on Friday morning.

Some passengers expressed disappointment over the handling of the violent clashes at the Capitol last week and said they were worried about the security situation in the city for the next few days.

“Probably (going to stay at home), I think it (the violence at the Capitol) was mishandled,” said a resident.

“It shouldn’t be happening. We’d rather not be violent with other people. It sucks that it’s happening. I know from my point of view, I just would rather not any of that happen,” said another resident.