Outside the Inauguration, the Streets of Washington Were Eerily Quiet Yesterday

If you travelled to the nation’s capital yesterday to get a glimpse of the inauguration of a new President and Vice President, take a photo in front of the White House, or dance and celebrate with fellow Biden supporters, you were in the wrong place.

The streets of the nation’s capital were almost entirely deserted, save for some independent media folk, a handful of religious fanatics, and 25,000 National Guardsmen posted up behind 10 foot high fences, not allowing anyone within half a mile of the action.

The few people who did travel to D.C. for the inauguration spent much of their day walking back and forth between the two relative pockets of activity: Union Station, where the international media was set up, and Black Lives Matter Plaza, where onlookers stood around quietly. Most conversations began with “Real quiet, huh?” before getting into inauguration chatter.

Almost as soon as President Joe Biden wrapped up his inaugural address, the camera crews packed up, the few revellers in attendance slipped off, and only the religiously inclined and National Guard remained.

In the midst of a global pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans, and 2 weeks to the day since the United States Capitol was taken under siege by violent right wing protesters, the lack of any noticeable celebration was hardly surprising.

While the sight of thousands of armed national guards and completely empty streets was a strange one, it shows just how seriously Joe Biden and his administration take threats against the US government, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the presidency itself.

The United States Capitol behind a 10-foot metal fence surrounding the building.

A woman dons a Trump mask and walks the empty streets of Washington D.C.

An activist is interviewed at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

A small group of National Guardsmen look on as a local child cycles past.

A couple watches Joe Biden’s address on a phone.

A lone Biden supporter wanders a normally bustling street in the Penn Quarter.

A journalist livestreams next to 4 of the 25,000 National Guard members in D.C. during the inauguration.

A Biden supporter heads out.

D.C. residents celebrate outside the capitol.

A ragtag news crew.

Harris and Biden figurines.

Signs made by some of the few who arrived in D.C. to celebrate the inauguration.

On a quest to celebrate.

“I don’t care, it was stolen,” this Trump supporter declared.

A group of Christians from Texas head back to their hotel.

Members of the National Guard rest after a long day.

National guard members from Georgia in front of Union Station.

Police tape blocks off one of the many restricted zones around the Capitol.

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