- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday that people may be stopped and questioned before entering the city’s security perimeter that will be in place for days leading up to Inauguration Day.

“Individuals entering the perimeter may be subject to screening and asked to describe what their essential business is,” Miss Bowser said during a press conference, adding that people should avoid the downtown area.

The perimeter surrounds the White House, the National Mall, the U.S. Capitol and other “key” parts of the city, the mayor said. The Washington Monument has been closed, and non-scalable fences have been erected around the Capitol grounds and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Parking garages in the restricted areas will be blocked beginning Friday, and Miss Bowser said residents should “expect some impacts” to the city’s roads and public transportation system. 

The Metropolitan Police Department is intermittently closing nearby streets and enforcing parking restrictions.

The mayor’s announcements come the same day the citywide National Special Security Event begins, which directs law enforcement agencies to increase surveillance and protection of government buildings and historic monuments.

Miss Bowser said Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt has not yet said whether he will cancel and block public gathering requests in the city until the transition of power is complete.

“The secretary is very concerned about his ability to approve or disapprove certain permits,” she said.

President Trump issued Monday an emergency declaration in the city that lasts until Jan. 24.

Thousands of armed National Guardsmen are patrolling the area, and many more will be arriving soon. Some are sleeping inside the Capitol.

At least 10,000 troops will be deployed in the District by Saturday, and as many as 15,000 have been requested “to support security, logistics, liaison and communications missions” in Washington, Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said earlier this week.

People can sign up to receive inauguration-related updates by texting “INAUG2021” to 888-777.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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