The US announced Monday that the iconic Washington Monument will be shuttered until at least Jan. 24 over “credible threats to visitors and park resources” after the Capitol was stormed last week by President Donald Trump’s supporters, an incident which left five people dead.
In announcing its decision, the National Park Service pointed explicitly to the events last week in Washington, D.C., saying in a written public notice: “Groups involved in the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021.
“In response, the National Park Service will suspend tours of the Washington Monument beginning January 11, 2021 through January 24, 2021 and may institute temporary closures of public access to roadways, parking areas and restrooms within the National Mall and Memorial Parks if conditions warrant, to protect public safety and park resources.”
It warned that closures may be extended if the threats persist, and said they could be expanded to include public access to roadways, parking areas, and restrooms on the National Mall and memorial parks.
“These temporary closures are based upon a determination, in consultation with the local authorities, that such actions are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety,” it added.
The move comes as the FBI reportedly received information that armed protests are being planned in all 50 state capitols as well as at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. starting Saturday and running through Jan. 20, the date of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
News outlet also reported that an unspecified group is calling for the “storming” of local, state and federal offices and courts in the event that Trump is removed from office before Biden’s inauguration by either impeachment or the 25th Amendment.
House lawmakers earlier Monday introduced a single article of impeachment against the president, alleging he sought to foment insurrection during last week’s deadly siege of the Capitol.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that it is moving up its security operations for Biden’s inauguration to this Wednesday due to the “evolving security landscape.” They were to begin Jan. 19 one day before the ceremony.
“In light of events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray, I have instructed the US Secret Service to begin the National Special Security Event operations for the 2021 Inauguration effective Wednesday, January 13th instead of January 19th,” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.
“Our federal, state, and local partners will continue to coordinate their plans and position resources for this important event,” he added.