US

Bowser urges people to avoid DC as National Guard plans to have at least 10,000 troops in city


Meanwhile, the National Guard has plans to have at least 10,000 troops in the city by the end of the week, with up to 13,000 possible, as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country brace for further extremist violence amid the transition of power.

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Bowser, a Democrat, warned of an “immediate threat to our democracy” and said “Trumpism won’t die on January 20.” She has asked Trump and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to declare a pre-disaster declaration for DC.

“Our goals right now are to encourage Americans to participate virtually and to protect the District of Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol and its grounds on January 6,” Bowser said.

She is also asking the Trump administration to cancel public gathering permits between January 10 and 24.

Last month, Biden’s camp urged people not to travel to DC for the inauguration, citing the worsening coronavirus pandemic. The scaled-back festivities will instead feature a virtual program to allow Americans to participate from home.

The National Park Service also announced Monday that it will close the Washington Monument to visitors for more than two weeks, a time period that includes the inauguration.

The park service said it also “may institute temporary closures of public access to roadways, parking areas and restrooms within the National Mall and Memorial Parks if conditions warrant, to protect public safety and park resources.”

A senior defense official told CNN on Monday that National Guard troops who are already earmarked for the inauguration are beginning to arrive, and the plan is to have 10,000 in the city by Saturday.

The Army is currently working on new requests from the DC government, Park Police and US Capitol Police, so the number of forces could still grow higher, the official said. CNN reported on Sunday that the actual number could go as high as 13,000 guardsmen at the time of the inauguration.

There is a full rehearsal with troops this week in DC. The Justice Department command center will be extra robust with virtually every Cabinet department and law enforcement agency plugging in, the official said.

Currently there 6,200 National Guard members who already been mobilized in the wake of last week’s attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Ali Main, Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean contributed to this report.


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