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By Kailani Koenig-Muenster
1/20/09 It has been an extreme showing of security here in Washington
for the largest event ever to hit the nation’s capital. And
today it became even more intense as the city geared up for
Barack Obama to take his oath of office.
Police, the National Guard, and federal agents swarmed
the National Mall to make sure the proceedings went off without a
hitch. National Guard units also were stationed along
many street corners.
Along the parade route, police and state troopers
from around the country lined both sides of the streets.
There were snipers on top of almost every building in the
area.
The
FBI and Homeland Security had issued a joint threat advisory
indicating that a Somali-based terrorist organization may have been in
the planning stages of an attack that coincided with inaugural
events.
Although extra precautions were added, the national
risk level was not heightened. Sixty percent of the National Guard
troops were actually tucked away in a warehouse with swat gear in case
they were needed. Extra precautions were taken at checkpoints
along the Mall.
Some spectators were stuck in crowds
surrounding the mall for 5 hours before they were able to reach their
first security checkpoint. Others never made it inside at
all. Tens of thousands of potential swearing-in spectators were left
out of the events because of monstrously long lines and
overcrowding.
While no significant violence was reported, some
mobs became so crammed that people passed out. Over 960
people visited the First Aid stops located along the mall.
Photo Credit:
Kailani Koenig-Muenster, WEBN News
2009
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