Pentagon deploying 20,000 National Guards with lethal weapons ahead of inauguration
Washington, Jan 14: The Pentagon is deploying 20,000 National Guards with lethal weapons here, a week ahead of the inauguration, to prevent any violence as experienced on January 6, with intelligence agencies receiving information about move to create violence and chaos across the country.
As many as 15,000 have already been deployed in and around Capitol Hill and another 5,000 would be added around the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. This is now twice the number of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
As US House of Representatives started the impeachment proceedings against Trump, security was tightened in and around Capitol Hill.
Not only metal detectors were installed, but also eight-feet high metal walls were erected overnight around Capitol Hill.
"There are significantly more US troops currently deployed on Capitol Hill than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, a staggering statistic that underscores just how massive the security presence already is," CNN said reflecting on the gravity of the situation in the country.
"I think you can except to see somewhere upwards beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia," acting DC police chief Robert J. Contee III told reporters at a news conference here.
Guardsmen, who are responsible for security around the Capitol building complex, were armed with lethal weapons, the Politico reported.
Major news outlets on Wednesday flashed pictures of guardsman inside the US Capitol guarding the temple of democracy, a scenario that was undreamt of before January 6, when thousands of supporters of Trump stormed the building and disrupted the constitutional process of counting and certification of electoral college votes.
Officials are bracing for uncertainty and preparing for the potential of violence in the days ahead, The New York Times reported.
"About 16 groups have registered to stage protests and officials said that law enforcement agencies were preparing for the possibility of armed conflict," the daily reported.
National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson told reporter that the troops "are authorised to do law enforcement if that's requested from the supporting agency."