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Boston businesses board up ahead of Election Day

Boston Police Department (Jason Lawrence/Flickr)

Boston businesses have began girding for potential election unrest, battening down the hatches with plywood boards over windows ahead of what’s anticipated to be a turbulent election.

Workers at the Prudential Center had put up sheets of plywood behind some glass windows.

The Pru, which was one of several spots where plywood was going up, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Tuesday’s presidential election is one of the most contentious in recent memory, and demonstrations are expected whichever way the contest between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden goes — with some possible violence feared, as came with some of the unrest over the summer around the country.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said there are “no specific or credible threats to election sites in Massachusetts at this time.”

“As for public gatherings related to the elections, we — through our State Police Watch Center and our Homeland Security Operations Center — will continue to monitor developing incidents and intelligence through the election and the days beyond to maximize situational awareness, response capabilities, and public safety,” Procopio continued. “We will deploy enhanced staffing prior to Election Day, on Election Day, and on the days that follow to ensure safety and security at the locations for which we have primary jurisdiction, such as the State House and other state properties throughout Massachusetts, as well as to assist local police departments that request our help to protect public safety in their communities.”

Boston Police didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday, and the department has a regular policy about declining to comment on deployments or number of police officers on duty.

But the department has signaled that it too is taking unusual steps for an election, canceling officers’ vacation and personal days for this coming week around the election, according to emails obtained by the Herald earlier this month. The police brass told the rank and file that this move is “to provide sufficient public safety,” per the emails.

The feds, too, are on high alert, as U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling told reporters earlier this month that his office, the FBI and other agencies will have a “command post” prepped and ready “so that if a response is needed, a response will happen immediately.”

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on Thursday told reporters that the city doesn’t know of any credible threats, either, but, “we’re going to make sure that on Election Day, people that do in-person voting will be able to do so peacefully — uninterrupted.”

“We are preparing for any type of demonstrations that might happen on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday,” Walsh said. “We’re still working on plans right now, but I’m anticipating there’ll be demonstrations — no question about it. … What’s kind of alarming to me is that the preparation that we’re putting into this election, we’ve never had to put into an election before.”


(c) 2020 the Boston Herald

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