Physical barriers put up around the U.S. Capitol building are finally down more than six months after protests led to a breach of the building on Jan. 6.
The Washington Times reported the work to remove the fencing began Friday and continued into Saturday. The work began following a Wednesday announcement from House Sergeant at Arms William J. Walker.
Walker emailed members of Congress and their respective staffers on July 7 that the barriers would come down. Walker said the removal of barriers could take up to three days, depending on the weather.
🚨 NEW … Changes to the Capitol fence.
“the Board supports USCP’s recommendation to remove the temporary fencing around Capitol Square.”
fence will come down FRIDAY and will take 3 days pic.twitter.com/dmRCAVW041
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 7, 2021
Video and images posted on Twitter showed crews removing the barriers, which were set up as National Guard troops swarmed Washington, D.C. following the Capitol incursion.
The remains of the concrete barriers and fencing around the Capitol are being removed this morning. pic.twitter.com/Svzm8BI9iX
— Jasmine Hilton (@jas_hilton) July 10, 2021
Scenes from this morning of workers taking down the security fencing surrounding the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/ga0PP8B0io
— Caroline Brehman (@carolinebrehman) July 10, 2021
— 6B08 Commissioner Peter Wright (@ANC6B08) July 10, 2021
The U.S. Capitol Police also issued a media release about the barrier removal.
“It has been six months since rioters attacked the United States Capitol and our brave police officers and law enforcement partners who fought valiantly to protect elected leaders and the democratic process,” the agency wrote.
“We will never forget USCP Officers Brian Sicknick and Howie Liebengood, who died after the attack, nor the sacrifices of the nearly 150 law enforcement officers who were injured,” the media release stated. “Since that day, our team has been working with federal law enforcement agents to track down the suspects and bring them to justice. So far more than 500 defendants face charges.”
The agency said it would work to add more training for officers, invest in new equipment and enhanced communication techniques to protect members of Congress.
The USCP also added it would work to address “psychological trauma.”
“The USCP is working closely with the House and Senate Employee Assistance Programs, including their trauma informed counselors. The Department is working with the House and Senate Chaplain Offices to partner on spiritual support services,” the release said. “Organizations specializing in addressing psychological trauma and stress have been brought in. Law enforcement agencies and other organizations also generously provided members of their peer support teams.”
Emotional support animals will also be part of the strategy to guard the property and focus on “wellness.”
“The USCP is developing its own internal peer support program. And finally, new wellness support dogs, Lila and Filip, will spread the message of wellness by helping engage the wellness team with our employees,” Capitol Police said.
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