No major threats materialized Wednesday in Washington, where authorities braced for violence by closing down a wide swath around the U.S. Capitol and National Mall and activating more than 25,000 National Guard troops.
Officials were on high alert all day as President Biden was sworn in on the west front of the Capitol.
In addition to the National Guard, police officers from Chicago, New Orleans, New York and New Jersey patrolled the nation’s capital to secure the event.
The influx of law enforcement was largely a response to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, when a violent mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the building to stop the certification of Mr. Biden‘s Electoral College victory.
A feared repeat attack never materialized. It never will be known, however, if the city’s show of force deterred bad actors from carrying out a major plot or if none was planned in the first place.
A D.C. police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to the media, said the number of protesters didn’t meet expectations.
“Virtually none,” the officer about demonstrations. “We’ve had maybe 15 people doing stuff. I’ll take that over 1,500 any day.”
The Supreme Court received a bomb threat just two hours before the inauguration ceremony at the Capitol across the street.
A search of the building proved the threat to be baseless.
D.C. residents and visitors apparently heeded city leaders who urged people to stay away from downtown during the inauguration.
Only journalists, law enforcement officers and homeless people were spotted walking alongside the massive fence erected around Capitol Hill.
Some colorful characters emerged from inside the perimeter.
Shortly after Mr. Biden took office, law enforcement closed streets near the Senate Hart Office Building after a man wearing a sackcloth approached the barriers, rubbed baby powder on his head and started preaching about Jesus.
“Jesus Christ is coming soon,” he said, standing in the middle of the intersection with his arms outstretched. “Jesus Christ loves us, but we have rebelled and we have gone against his ways. We have turned against the ways of God.
“I am not an extremist. I am a Christian that loves Jesus, that is all,” he said, as police cleared the area.
About 10 minutes before Mr. Biden was sworn in, a gaggle of people gathered around two anti-LGBTQ demonstrators who were yelling and holding signs. They dispersed quickly when they were approached by about 30 Capitol Police officers in riot gear.
• Emily Zantow and Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.