Fence around U.S. Capitol going back up ahead of State of the Union
▶ Watch Video: National Guard will help during truck convoy protests headed to Washington D.C.
Washington — Fencing around the U.S. Capitol building is being put back up ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday, the head of the Capitol Police announced, as part of security precautions for the speech and possible protests in Washington, D.C., in the next few weeks.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement Sunday that the decision to reinstall the fence around the Capitol was made “out of an abundance of caution.” The agency, he said, has been working with federal, state and local law enforcement partners “on a security plan to prevent any disruption to the important work of Congress” in light of Tuesday’s State of the Union and the possible arrival of convoys of trucks protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Manger said he has also requested support from outside law enforcement agencies and the National Guard to help with security precautions.
The self-proclaimed “People’s Convoy” was inspired by a three-week protest from truckers in Ottawa against Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine requirement for truck drivers. The U.S.-based convoy departed California last week and is scheduled to arrive in the Washington, D.C.,-area on March 5.
Another expected convoy, which left Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, failed to gain traction, though D.C. officials have warned other groups of truckers could reach Washington by Tuesday when Mr. Biden will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, according to WTOP.
At least two convoys have posted routes online, though it’s unclear how many trucks are participating in the demonstrations.
In anticipation of the protests, the Pentagon approved requests from the Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for assistance from the National Guard. Up to 700 National Guard members, who will not carry firearms or take part in law enforcement activities, will help at designated traffic posts and select Capitol entry points, according to the National Guard.
Fencing was installed around the Capitol complex for weeks after the January 6 assault on the Capitol and remaining inner fencing was fully removed in July. Temporary fencing went back up in September ahead of a rally supporting people who were arrested for their roles in the January 6 attack.