Security tight at US Capitol as police fear militia attack

Published March 5, 2021
NATIONAL Guard soldiers patrol the grounds of the US Capitol on Thursday. — Reuters
NATIONAL Guard soldiers patrol the grounds of the US Capitol on Thursday. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: Security was tight on Thursday at the US Capitol in Washington, the scene of a deadly assault in January, after police warned that a militia group might try to attack it to mark a key date on the calendar of a baseless conspiracy theory.

A bulletin issued on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said an unidentified group of “militia violent extremists” discussed plans in February to “take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4.”

March 4 is the day when adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory believe that former President Donald Trump, who was defeated by President Joe Biden in the Nov 3 election, will be sworn in for a second term in office. Up until 1933, March 4 was the date of the inauguration.

Early on Thursday, there were no signs of protesters anywhere along the steel fence that was erected around the Capitol, seat of the US legislature, after the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters.

Inside the fence about a quarter mile from the building, dozens of National Guard troops - rifles strapped across their chests - were deployed, chatting in small knots on the sidewalks in the bright sunshine.

Freedom Plaza, a rallying point for previous right-wing protests opposite the Washington mayor’s office, was empty except for a lone skateboarder and four bicycle police officers.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2021

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