How Washington, DC Is Preparing for Election Night Riots

Posted: Nov 02, 2020 2:45 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The nation's capital is fully underway to prepare for Election Day, but not like years past and in a much more ominous way. Buildings and businesses in the downtown area, especially close to the White House, have boarded up their windows in anticipation of riots from anti-Trump groups on Tuesday night. 

Depending on which way the election results go, the city is bracing for unrest in a manner similar to what it, and the rest of the country, experienced during the summer after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody.

Crews were hard at work finishing up covering windows with plywood, including at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is right down the street from the White House. One business put saran wrap around its pillars to prevent graffiti from being sprayed on.

NBC News reported in addition to Secret Service and D.C. Metro Police, 250 National Guardsmen are on standby to assist in crowd control near the White House, which has been a popular gathering place for protesters and rioters.

Lafayette Square, which is across the street from the North Lawn of the White House, has been fenced off since July after rioters attempted to pull down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson. Across the street, Black Lives Matter Plaza is set to be the rallying point for anti-Trump protesters after they vote on Tuesday.

D.C. Metro Police have used tear gas and other crowd-control munitions at previous riots and recently purchased $130,000 worth of less-than-lethal munitions and training kits, according to WUSA9.

Unique to D.C. is the number of federal properties in the area and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said it is ready to protect such property in the city and around the country.

"The American people can rest assured that this election will be decided by American voters. Working alongside our Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial partners, the Department of Homeland Security is fully prepared regarding election night safety and security. To be clear, the Department of Homeland Security has limited authorities regarding physical security—our jurisdiction covers only federal property," DHS spokesman Chase Jennings said in a statement.

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