WASHINGTON — As part of security measures ahead of the Inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, so-called “core areas” of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. will close to the public on Friday and remain closed until January 21, according to the National Park Service.
“Activities of the 59th presidential inauguration and permitted First Amendment activities in designated locations will be allowed,” the National Park Service said in a written statement. They said demonstrators will be limited in number and all “participants will be screened prior to entry and escorted to their permitted location.”
The Washington Monument closed already on Monday, and was set to remain closed until January 24. Friday’s announcement would close larger areas of the National Mall.
The closure was ordered as part of the National Special Security Event, a multi-agency effort to put security measures in place around D.C. and state capitals around the country.
The FBI has warned there is an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter” about possible armed protests next week in every state. They are working with law enforcement around the country to increase security measures and monitor demonstrations.
FBI Director Christpher Wray acknowledged it’s hard to distinguish what chatter is aspirational and what is intentional. However, many agencies are not taking chances, especially in light of the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that started as a rally.
“Working together, the National Park Service, mayor’s office, the Metropolitan Police Department, United States Secret Service and all of our local and federal law enforcement and public safety partners, have developed a plan to ensure for the safety of our Nation’s capital, city residents and monuments and memorials on the National Mall,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks in a written statement.