UK markets close in 5 hours
  • FTSE 100

    6,575.44
    +92.01 (+1.42%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    21,271.64
    +361.27 (+1.73%)
     
  • AIM

    1,191.46
    +8.21 (+0.69%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1591
    +0.0055 (+0.48%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3967
    +0.0044 (+0.32%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    34,158.04
    +1,415.68 (+4.32%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    959.76
    +26.62 (+2.85%)
     
  • S&P 500

    3,811.15
    -18.19 (-0.48%)
     
  • DOW

    30,932.37
    -469.63 (-1.50%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    62.25
    +0.75 (+1.22%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,742.00
    +13.20 (+0.76%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,663.50
    +697.49 (+2.41%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    29,452.57
    +472.36 (+1.63%)
     
  • DAX

    13,917.06
    +130.77 (+0.95%)
     
  • CAC 40

    5,779.90
    +76.68 (+1.34%)
     

US rolls out massive security operation to protect Biden inauguration

·2-min read

The stage is being set in Washington for a “reimagined” inauguration celebration for incoming White House duo Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, with Americans being instructed to steer well clear of the high-security event on 20 January.

Razor-wire fencing and barricades have already been set up in DC, a city under a state of emergency since a deadly siege on the Capitol on 6 January. More than 15,000 National Guard troops are to be deployed amid threats of further violence.

Instead of the usual parade along a crowd-lined Pennsylvania Avenue, the president and vice president elect will be escorted from the Capitol to the White House by members of the military in a made-for-television spectacle that’s being billed a “virtual parade”.

The National Mall, where supporters traditionally gather in the thousands to watch the new president take the oath of office, will reportedly be shut down. There will be no big screens or public toilets, an unnamed official told CNN.

The Secret Service has described the unprecedented security operation being rolled out in Washington as a “zero fail mission”. The FBI, meanwhile, is warning all 50 state capitals to ready themselves for armed protests by rightwing radicals vowing to stage “million militia” marches.

Joe Biden’s team this week said the president-elect was "not afraid” to be sworn in outside, on the West Lawn in front of the Capitol, adding that he is receiving constant updates on the security situation.

Celebrity affair

Despite "extremely limited" access to the inauguration, Biden is planning a celebrity-laden afternoon that’s intended to “showcase the American people's resilience, heroism and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild".

Lady Gaga has been booked to sing the national anthem at the swearing-in ceremony, where Jennifer Lopez is also due to perform. There will, however, be no inauguration balls, luncheons or other such pageantry.

Instead, Tom Hanks is to host a prime-time TV special – to be broadcast live on all the major networks – featuring musicians Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen and others.

Details of Biden’s inauguration will continue to emerge as his team looks to reinvent a spectacle that’s been made impossible not only by security fears, but by the coronavirus crisis – with US deaths tipped to exceed 400,000 before Wednesday.

Despite the absence of crowds and usual fanfare, one of the most notable breaks from tradition will come from the outgoing Donald Trump as he becomes the first president in 150 years to miss the inauguration of his successor.