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The federal government’s decision to fortify the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) has drawn criticism from netizens and Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Tall, metal fencing, along with concrete barriers, appeared along 17th Street in the US capital and around the White House and EEOB on Thursday.
In addition to the new fencing, which now extends past the EEOB down 17th Street, @abdallahCNN reports that additional concrete barriers have been installed behind existing fencing at 17th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW pic.twitter.com/aoULVLNFF8
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) June 4, 2020
Former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow told CNN that the concrete barriers reinforcing fencing at 17th Street-Pennsylvania Avenue intersection could be intended to block vehicles from accessing areas where crowds of demonstrators may gather.
He also claimed that the other fencing has likely been erected because the White House “has been a target of protest activity and tangential agitators.”
The fortification comes alongside Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham’s Thursday report that no arrests were made the day prior in connection with the peaceful demonstrations in the city.
“There was no damage to MPD property. There was no MPD injuries. Moving forward over the next couple of days, we expect more of the same,” he said on Thursday, as reported by The Hill.
Bowser slammed the federal government’s decision during a Thursday news conference, noting that the White House is “the people’s house.”
“I think that’s a sad commentary,” she added. “We should want the White House opened up for people to be able to access it from all sides.”
In addition to DC leadership chiding the White House’s decision, netizens voiced their own disagreement via social media. Hashtags such as “#BunkerBoy” accompanied some posts.
Imagine being so cowardly and incompetent that you need to build layers of walls – essentially a moat – around our White House to distance yourself from the American people who are suffering, dying and starving from a pandemic, and who are crying out for social justice.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) June 4, 2020
Trump began his term promising to build a wall to protect America from the world.
He ends it building a wall to protect himself from Americans. pic.twitter.com/mzvfIBVOSg
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) June 4, 2020
A fitting image to mark the end of this presidency. A vain, confused, furious man alone in a bunker, under a darkened White House, surrounded—at last—by his fence and his wall. pic.twitter.com/52d2UW9UMr
— Kieran Healy (@kjhealy) June 4, 2020
While there is no scheduled curfew for the city on Thursday, there remains a substantial police and active-duty troop presence in the US capital. Other authorities whose affiliations are not always clear have also appeared within Washington, DC, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to issue a request to US President Donald Trump seeking clarification of the agencies involved in policing protests.