Just before the US election, Washington DC is bracing itself for possible unrest that could arise from the country’s sharp political polarization, reported news agency ANI.
Businesses in downtown Washington, D.C., boarded up their storefront windows starting Friday evening in anticipation of demonstrations turning into potential civil unrest in the nation’s capital on or around Election Day.
From pharmacies to even essential businesses situated just blocks away from the White House were covered in plywood. Residents and business owners told ANI that they are preparing for a possible repeat of the protests seen over the summer in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many Stores plan to close on Election Day or for at least the entire week.
Atishay Abbhi, a resident of Washington DC, who has in the past witnessed presidential election cycles, compared the past to the present Election 2020.
“I think the biggest difference is the increasing use of words like Police presence, potential unrest, violence and that was absent during 2016.”, Abbhi told ANI. “We are just a mike away from the White House and there is a bit of an eerie tension in the city at this moment, but hopeful things should go off well on election night,” Abbhi further added.
Richard Saidhose another resident of the national capital said: “it’s very concerning because this is our democracy and we should be able to celebrate, not be afraid or be prepared for oncoming unrest fit a couple of days.”
DC Metro Police Chief Peter Newsham said Thursday there were no “credible threats right now of violence,” but said a number of groups had applied for permits to conduct large demonstrations and the entire police department would be working on Election Day.
“We ask people if they’re going to come, we welcome people to come here to the District of Columbia to exercise their First Amendment rights, but we are not going to tolerate violence or unrest,” the police chief said.
There is a heavy police presence on the streets and you may see Officers with batons, shields and helmets on the streets on Tuesday. In anticipation of the post result demonstrations, elected officials are preemptively proposing similar measures like restoring curfews and working to close off streets.
Just a few days ago the capital witnessed protests over the death of Karon Hylton, who died after a crash Friday that his family blames on a police pursuit.