Washington, DC Mayor asks public not to attend inauguration

(STL.News) District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that in order to prevent violence during President-elect Joe Biden‘s January 20 inauguration officials are asking the public not to attend the event. (Jan. 13)

In press briefing Bowser said: “We have asked Americans not to come to the Washington, D.C. event, but instead to participate virtually, and we know that is the right choice and the best way to keep everyone safe. ”

Bowser says the city has also discussed with The U. S. Department of Interior the cancellation of public gathering permits in the days before and after the event.  Those discussion are ongoing the mayor said.

The mob attack on the U.S. Capitol starkly highlighted a longstanding local security paradox: The District of Columbia government lacks authority over much of the area within its borders.

Now as the city braces for a nerve-wracking lead-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration the city’s mayor is seeking increased security and better coordination among the multiple law enforcement agencies involved.

And in the longer-term, last week’s security debacle has lent momentum and urgency to the longstanding effort for D.C. to gain direct authority over its National Guard contingent – and the parallel campaign to make it the 51st state.

Bowser said that “The inauguration of the president does which puts in place an entirely different command and control structure within the federal government.”  Adding “we are very confident about that type of coordination.”

Following last week’s insurrection in the capital Airbnb says it will be blocking and cancelling all reservations in the Washington, D.C. area during the week of the presidential inauguration.

The decision, announced Wednesday, came two days after it said it was reviewing reservations in the area ahead of next week’s presidential inauguration and said it will bar any guests associated with hate groups or violent activity.

Airbnb has had a policy of removing guests who are confirmed to be members of hate groups since 2017, when it blocked guests who were headed to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bowser when asked about Airbnb and other hotel closings said, “prior to the 6th, there were a couple of hotels that decided to close their operations for the safety of their personnel and the integrity of their business operation… I saw a notice from Airbnb that it would limit its bookings.”

Adding, “we are trying to understand and balance the need for housing with also our encouragement that people not travel here.”

YouTube video provided courtesy of Associated Press (AP)