Washington news: What is happening in Washington right now? How long will lockdown last?
Washington: Capitol building ‘on lockdown’ due to ‘external threat’
All eyes are on Washington DC this week in anticipation of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Mr Biden was officially certified as the winner of the 2020 US election earlier this month, but during the vote count proceedings were interrupted by rioters who targeted the US Capitol.
What is happening in Washington right now?
The US Capitol complex was temporarily placed under lockdown today, and people inside the building were forced to shelter in place.
Capitol Police warned those in the complex buildings to “stay away from exterior windows and doors” and for those outside to “seek cover”.
The lockdown prevented entry and exit from the complex, and officials now say the lockdown was due to an external security threat.
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Today a rehearsal was taking place for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, with the actual event due to take place on Wednesday, January 20.
All the participants in today’s rehearsal were reportedly evacuated into the building.
The shut down of the Capitol complex was due to reports of a fire nearby, and the city’s fire department said on Twitter that firefighters put out an outside fire near the Capitol complex.
The department said: “There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen.”
When will lockdown end?
The lockdown of the US Capitol was temporary, with the US Secret Service tweeting the shut down was due to an “abundance of caution”.
The lockdown has now been lifted and the nearby fire is contained.
The Secret Service tweeted: “Public safety and law enforcement responded to a small fire in the area of 1st and F streets SE, Washington, D.C. that has been extinguished.
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“Out of an abundance of caution the US Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown.”
The Secret Service statement added: “There is no threat to the public.”
NBC Washington reports the fire was extinguished and no one was hurt in the incident.
Monday’s lockdown came several days after pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol on January 6 while votes were being certified for the US election result.
Five people died in the riots on January 6, and the US Capitol building was stormed and vandalised by the mob.
All of America’s 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) are on alert for violent protests due to Mr Biden’s inauguration this week.
The FBI has warned of possible armed marches by Trump supporters in response to the event.
Former FBI boss James Comey told Sky News: “I’m worried because there are armed, disturbed people who are in this state of mind where they believe their country is being taken from them.”
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