Thousands With Tickets Turned Away From Mall

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2009 5:46 PM CST
Alex Sarem of San Diego bursts into tears on hearing that the purple ticketed gate has been closed.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – While some fought to escape the Mall after the inauguration, thousands of frustrated ticketholders were barred from entering to see the swearing in of President Barack Obama, the Washington Post reports. “It is irresponsible to issue all of these tickets and not let the people in,” one Californian said. Hopeful attendees reported waiting in line for hours only to learn gates had been closed.

“We give up. How many purple tickets did they issue?” asked one disappointed citizen. “This was impossible.” The DC police chief claimed early on that all tickets had been honored, but later retracted the statement, saying there were safety concerns. “There was a surge at the end.” One filmmaker who’d followed the campaign from the beginning was particularly upset, and quit the line. “I'm going to go try to watch it somewhere.”