Enhanced security measures were seen across the U.S., a country that is bracing for possible violence related to the high-stakes presidential election with election day on Tuesday.
In Washington, D.C., shopfronts are boarding up their windows with plywood or putting up other makeshift barriers, some of them stretching nearly entire blocks.
The deputy mayor of Washington D.C. for planning and economic development, John Falcicchio, in a statement, said that “we do not have any intelligence on planned activity to suggest the need to board up; however, we remain vigilant.
“We understand the difficult position building owners and operating businesses are in, and we call upon all who participate in First Amendment activities to denounce violence and report it immediately should it occur.’’
Fences have been erected around the White House, where demonstrators gathered Saturday night to protest against President Donald Trump. Card-boards on which anti-Trump slogans were written were attached on the fences.
Similar scenes of businesses protecting their properties also appeared on the streets in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked residents to express their political opinions in a safe way. “What I’m encouraging people to do is to express themselves but do it in a way that honours our traditions.
“We don’t have the right to take out our frustration, our anger, on someone else.’’
Rich Guidice, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, in a press conference said Chicago “is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to planning for election day security arrangement.
“We have been performing drills and holding workshops to be ready to respond to any situation or possible event that should occur in this city before, on or after election day.’’
While officials said there have been no credible threats of violence on or after the election day, which this year falls on November 3, they could not stress more about being vigilant against those incidents.
Terence Monahan, chief of department for the New York Police Department, said last week while outlining election security plans “it’s no secret that this election is more contentious than in years past.’’
Meanwhile, Washington Post reported that Washington, D.C. police have limited leave for officers to ensure adequate staff.
It said that the District spent 100,000 dollars on less-lethal munitions and chemical irritants for riot control to replenish a stockpile depleted by clashes over the summer.
Police advisory signs were put up on light poles along streets adjacent to the White House, prohibiting the use of firearms during demonstrations starting Saturday and extending for five days after the election.
Shutdown D.C., an activist group in the nation’s capital, is organising weeks-long demonstrations starting Tuesday, calling on participants to join in on election night as an event is planned at the Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is a block away from the White House.
The event will include a giant screen showing election results, as well as performances by bands playing Washington’s signature go-go music.
George Washington University in Washington, D.C. has recommended that students prepare for election day as they would for disasters like snowstorm or hurricane and stockpile food, supplies and medicine enough for a week’s consumption.