US cities brace for trouble ahead of Biden inauguration

 

Authorities in Washington DC froze access to most of the city's tourist attractions as at least one man was arrested trying to breach an unprecedented security corridor ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration at the US Capitol.

More than 20,000 National Guard troops were deployed to enforce a "green zone" taking in the Washington Mall, White House and Capitol, where Mr Biden will be sworn in on Wednesday.

 

Troops block a road in Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp
Troops block a road in Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp

 

A Virginia man packing a Glock handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition was apprehended trying to drive through a US Capitol checkpoint using fake inaugural credentials, officials said.

According to the New York Post, Wesley Allen Beeler was taken into custody at 6:30 p.m. Friday after he tried to drive his white Ford pickup truck through the checkpoint, court papers show.

The non-government-issued pass caught the attention of wary Capitol Police cops, who have been on high alert since Jan. 6, when rioters lay siege to a Capitol now bracing for Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

Beeler, 31, was told to pull over away from the checkpoint - and when he did, the police noticed the pickup had "several firearm-related decals" stuck to the rear windshield, court papers said.

 

Virginia man Wesley Beeler was arrested near US Capitol building.
Virginia man Wesley Beeler was arrested near US Capitol building.

 

"Assault Life," read one decal, which sported an image of a rifle.

"If they come for your guns Give 'Em your bullets first," read another decal, the court papers said.

Asked by cops if he had anything in the vehicle that could hurt them, Beeler allegedly confessed to the Glock under his center armrest.

It came as the incoming 46th president outlined his initial 10-day plan to address the pandemic, COVID economic stimulus, and to roll back some of US President Donald Trump's most controversial policies.

These include rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and cancelling the travel ban from majority Muslim countries that has been in place since Mr Trump's earliest days in office.

Mr Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain said he would "sign dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet agencies" on January 21.

 

 

On day two, Mr Biden would "sign a number of executive actions to move aggressively to change the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards."

Ahead of the inauguration, which has been stripped back due to COVID and security concerns, cities across the US were bracing for trouble from extremists with online threats to 50 state capitals and Washington DC ahead of the inauguration.

 

Security lockdown scenes in Washington DC. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp
Security lockdown scenes in Washington DC. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp

 

More than 100 rioters have been arrested in the days since a mob encouraged by Mr Trump overran Congress and forced the certification of Mr Biden's election win to be briefly suspended.

Meanwhile, with just days left in office, speculation mounted that Mr Trump was planning a series of high-level pardons, including one of himself.

And his personal approval sank to historic lows of 29 per cent, according to Pew Research, after hovering between 35 and 45 per cent throughout his presidency.

 

As only the third incumbent to skip the swearing-in of his successor, Mr Trump reportedly plans to leave Washington DC on Wednesday morning, before his term ends at midday.

This came as he was reportedly exploring an unconventional "military style" parade to see him off, which would include a 21-gun-salute and march down a red carpet.

Meanwhile, the family of a heavily-armed Virginia man arrested trying to breach the Capitol checkpoint said last night he was a security guard employed as a contractor to help guard the area.

 

DC businesses boarded up ahead of expected riots and violence. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp
DC businesses boarded up ahead of expected riots and violence. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp

 

Massive trucks have been parked end to end to block streets. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp
Massive trucks have been parked end to end to block streets. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp

 

"He was proud of the work he was doing with the police and National Guard," said Paul Beeler of his son Wesley Beeler, 31, who was arrested with an "unauthorised" credential.

Security concerns ahead of the inauguration also prompted authorities to announce they would lock down every federal prison in the US this week.

"In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions," the Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

This was partly to prevent riots within the jails but also because officers from the prison Special Operations unit were deployed to Washington DC to help guard the capital.

 

Another turn-back in Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp
Another turn-back in Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp

 

Security lockdown in Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp
Security lockdown in Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Picture: Nathan Vass, News Corp

 

Originally published as US cities brace for trouble ahead of Biden inauguration

Beeler was carrying a pistol and 500 rounds of ammunition. Picture: Facebook
Beeler was carrying a pistol and 500 rounds of ammunition. Picture: Facebook


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