Security on high alert for inauguration week

US Capitol building. Photo courtesy of MGN.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) — On a day meant to commemorate a civil rights icon, the city where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a defining speech about racial harmony is in a state of emergency amid concerns of potential violence from domestic extremists.

We don’t want to see fences,” said Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We definitely don’t want to see armed troops on our streets, but we do have to take a different posture.”

The coronavirus pandemic and the siege of the US Capitol will mark a change in Washington’s inaugural traditions.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “This will be an inaugural like no other, in large part because of covid, but we’re going to get sworn in and we’re going to do the job we were hired to do.”

Incoming President Joe Biden is set to be sworn in Wednesday as mounting crises from the pandemic to the economy to homegrown threats pose unprecedented challenges.

“I think the events of the past few weeks have proven out how damaged the soul of America has been and how important it is to restore it,” said Ron Klain, incoming White House Chief of Staff:  “That work starts on Wednesday.”

While outgoing President Donald Trump faces a historic post-presidency impeachment trial in the US Senate.

“This was the most serious presidential crime in the history of the United States of America,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

In the midst of tragedies brought on by the pandemic– and political division– lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will now have to grapple with how to pull the country together.