President Joe Biden gives his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. Ahead of the televised event, officials have put up fencing around the United States Capitol.
The fencing marks one of two security cautions put in place ahead of Biden’s nationally broadcasted speech. According to ABC News, up to 700 National Guard troops will also “be available to help local law enforcement.”
The enhanced security measures come in the weeks following the internationally recognized Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy. The demonstrations occupied the American/Canadian border for several weeks and clogged the streets of the nation’s capital city of Ottawa.
Now, ahead of the address, the increased security measures serve to prevent disruptions posed by the approaching People’s Convoy. The People’s Convoy began their demonstration last week in California, before gradually making stops across the nation.
During the State of the Union Address, the truckers have intentions to protest ongoing COVID-19 mandates. These include vaccine requirements, mask mandates, and the National Emergency measures which recently saw extension.
As per the outlet, the security fencing will likely remain in place through Monday, March 7th. The city’s Police Chief, Tom Manger, shared the fencing arose “out of an abundance of caution in light of the upcoming State of the Union Address, and the possibility of demonstrations in the next couple of weeks.”
Security Fencing Causes Conflict on Certain Sides of the Aisle
In addition to the National Guard, the event will see increased security measures from various law enforcement agencies. ABC News identified D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service, as well as the National Guard.
Manger said these agencies intend to keep the purported demonstrations from disrupting “the important work of Congress.”
The move comes as a way to maintain the integrity of Biden’s address and the work of Congress following. However, it caused tension on both sides of the aisle.
After the fencing went up, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “Those National Guard and that fencing should be in America but they should be along our borders not around the people’s house.”
Simultaneously, Washington D.C. Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton stated she understands the “security concerns related to the trucker convoy and the State of the Union Address that led to the fencing being temporarily reinstalled.”
However, she did emphasize that she will “ensure that the fencing comes down as soon as possible to restore freedom of movement for District of Columbia residents and the general public.”
Her statement is significant as, last year, the outlet reports she introduced a bill to block permanent fencing at the Capitol complex.
The additional security measures saw approval from states including Vermont, New Jersey, and West Virginia.