- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2021

The National Park Service announced Friday that “core” areas of the National Mall will close through Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden.

“The closure has been ordered to ensure safety and security within the area of the National Special Security Event designated by the Department of Homeland Security for the 59th presidential inauguration,” the park service said in a statement.

All federal memorials and facilities will be subject to closure within parts of President’s Park, Lafayette Park, the Ellipse and the White House complex, East and West Potomac parks, and areas along Pennsylvania Avenue.

First Amendment demonstrations that have received a public gathering permit will be allowed to be held.

“Demonstrations will be limited in number and participants will be screened prior to entry and escorted to their permitted location, in addition to other safety related requirements,” the park service said. “Only those holding permits will be allowed within the closed area.”

That decision goes against D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ’s request to Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt to cancel and block any demonstrations.

The park service did not immediately respond Friday to a request for the list of public gathering permits issued leading up to and on Inauguration Day.

The heightened security is in response to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, as well as FBI warnings of armed protests in the coming days. Thousands of armed guards are patrolling downtown D.C., and up to 20,000 troops are expected to be deployed during the transition of presidential power on Wednesday.

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

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