Reminder of Capitol Riot Is About to Come Down

In the event of another attack, officials say fencing could go right back up
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2021 5:45 PM CDT
Reminder of Capitol Riot Is About to Come Down
Fencing surrounds the US Capitol in Washington in April.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The fencing installed around the Capitol after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection will start being removed as soon as Friday, but most visitors are still not allowed inside the iconic building. That's according to the House sergeant-at-arms in a memo Wednesday to all members of Congress and staff, the AP reports. The stark, black perimeter fence is one of the last remaining signs of the mob siege that shook the world as supporters of former President Trump stormed the building, trying to stop the certification of President Biden's election victory. Even with its removal, the Capitol will remain closed to most visitors, the memo said. "Although the temporary fencing will be removed, current building access restrictions will remain in place," the memo said. Because of the pandemic and the insurrection, the Capitol has been closed to most visitors for the longest stretch in the nation's history—nearly 16 months.

Federal officials are aware of online chatter from far-right groups and people who believe in conspiracy theories discussing potentially returning to Washington as part of an unfounded and baseless conspiracy theory that Trump will be reinstated in August. Five people died in the January attack, including a Trump supporter shot and killed by police inside the Capitol and three people who suffered medical emergencies in the crowd. One police officer died later after having battled rioters. Two other officers later took their own lives. Capitol Police will continue to monitor intelligence information and potential threats, and new fencing could be swiftly erected, the memo said. Removal of the fence will take up to three days, weather permitting. In normal times, about 2.5 million people a year tour the Capitol. Permanent fencing was suggested for the Capitol grounds, but the idea gained little support.

(Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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