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Secret Service declares DC ‘Red, Green Zones;’ Hundreds of streets closed, troops checking traffic & more

A United States Secret Service agent stands guard at the White House (Matt Popovich/Flickr)
January 15, 2021

The U.S. Secret Service announced Friday it is closing traffic through dozens of streets in Washington D.C. and establishing a “Green Zone” and a “Red Zone” in parts of DC from Saturday, through to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

The Secret Service’s “Green Zone” policy states “Vehicle traffic restricted to residents or businesses within the restricted area” and said “National Guard Personnel will be assisting with verifying traffic entering into the Green Zone.”

In addition to the restrictions along the “Green Zone” streets, the Secret Service also announced closures to numerous streets, bridges and tunnels. No parking restrictions also apply for numerous streets around the city.

There is also a “Red Zone” in which parking is restricted, and only “authorized vehicles only with proper vehicle placard” allowed.

The Secret Service is leading the security mission for the inauguration, placing them in charge of National Guard troops arriving in the city for security missions. In total, 21,000 guard troops are authorized to deploy in the National Capitol Region (NCR) to support the inauguration.

National Guard troops in the NCR have been authorized to be armed, in line with a request by federal authorities. Troops have been seen in the city with service rifles.

On Wednesday, CNN reporter Josh Replogle tweeted, “@mkraju Racks upon racks of rifles and pistols. National guard gearing up at the Capitol,” with video of rifles and riot gear being offloaded from a truck outside the Capitol.

Other videos taken around the Capitol have shown National Guard troops guarding nonscalable fences that are blocking off various streets in the city.

On Thursday, CBS tweeted “Crews added barbed wire to fences near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday (1/14). Special security measures are being put in place around Washington, D.C. ahead of the presidential inauguration next week.”

On Thursday National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Dan Hokanson said “The National Guard has a long and proud history of inauguration support. The forefathers of today”s National Guard were present for the inauguration of George Washington, and we have been part of every inauguration since.”

This inauguration comes with particularly strong support after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing lawmakers to stop a joint session of Congress while police and demonstrators engaged in violent clashes. One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died from injuries following the incident at the Capitol. One woman, Ashli Babbit, was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer. Another woman and two men died from what police described as medical emergencies during the incident at the Capitol.