After Trump supporters were able to overhelm a small and strained police force with relative ease and breach the Capitol on January 06, no chances are being taken with security ahead of Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. This time around, much of central Washington
WRE
has been turned into a labyrinth of security checkpoints, concrete barriers, razor wire and fencing. Moves to beef up security come amid FBI warnings of armed protests in all 50 states as well as the possibility of further violence in Washington. Fears are particularly high about an insider attack and the FBI has been vetting thousands of military personnel with two arrests reportedly made in connection with the assault on the Capitol.

The scale of the security effort can be put into perspective by comparing the number of Guard members in Washington to the number of troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. National Guard members have been arriving in the U.S. capital from all over the country and it is estimated that 25,000 will be present for the inauguration. That’s five times as high as troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with around 2,500 service members serving in each country, according to a recent Department of Defense press release. A further 900 U.S. troops are also reportedly still serving in Syria.

Security is always heavy at U.S. inaugurations but Washington has never seen anything on this scale before. Approximately 8,000 National Guard members were deployed for Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2016 in addition to the usual Secret Service presence and a wide range of law enforcement officers. So far, the protests that occurred countrywide over the weekend were small and poorly attended, offering hope that Washington will remain equally calm throughout the week. While the precautions in place are certainly impressive in their sheer magnitude, they also serve as a sad indication of the scale of division in U.S society after four tumultuous years of President Trump.

*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)

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