Federal authorities are reportedly planning to erect a “non-scalable” fence around the entire perimeter of the White House on Monday as law enforcement officials, including 250 national guardsmen put on standby, prepare for possible protests in the aftermath of Election Day.
NBC News White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett was the first to report on the latest White House fence construction plans. CNN confirmed the news, citing an unnamed source “with knowledge of the matter.”
“The White House on lockdown,” Bennett tweeted on Sunday night, just hours after it was reported that President Donald Trump is planning to prematurely claim victory if he has a lead Tuesday night, as the Republican Party bolsters its attempt to further delegitimize mail-in ballots counted after November 3.
The White House on lockdown: A federal law enforcement source tells NBC that beginning tomorrow, crews will build a “non-scalable” fence to secure the WH complex, Ellipse and Lafayette Square.
250 National Guardsmen have been put on standby, reporting to Metro Police officials.
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) November 2, 2020
According to CNN, the “non-scalable” fencing being set up this week is the same type that was put into place during this summer’s protests against racism and police violence that erupted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis officers in May.
The source said that the fortification will “encompass the Ellipse and Lafayette Square. It will go down 15th Street to Constitution Avenue and then over to 17th Street. The fence will then run up to H Street and across by Lafayette, and then come down to 15th Street.”
Many observers—regardless of the outcomes—anticipate post-election turbulence this year. “The extra layer of security,” CNN reported, “marks the most high-profile example to date of authorities preparing for unrest following this year’s election, especially if there is no clear winner come November 4.”
Expectations of and preparations for potential political violence are unusually high this year, driven in large part by Trump’s dangerous encouragement of armed “poll watchers” as well as other cases—such as the harassment of a Biden campaign bus by reckless, pro-Trump motorists this weekend—in which the president has incited and/or condoned violence and intimidation.
“Four years after pledging to make America great,” political columnist Frida Ghitis noted on social media, “Trump has to turn the White House into a fortress to protect himself from the people.”
Four years after pledging to make America great, Trump has to turn the White House into a fortress to protect himself from the people.
Authorities building “non-scalable” fence around the White House today over fears of civil unrest on Election Day. https://t.co/5rhTmLUZZv
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) November 2, 2020
“Does this feel like preparation for a peaceful transfer of power?” asked author Michael Smith.
Trump has moved his election night event to the White House. Which will be on lockdown, starting tomorrow, with National guardsmen deployed. They are building additional fencing. There is a bunker. Does this feel like preparation for a peaceful transfer of power? No.
— Michael Marshall Smith (@ememess) November 2, 2020
As Common Dreams reported last week, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups is planning nearly 400 rallies across the nation to protest any effort by Trump to falsely claim victory or refuse to accept the election results.
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