Tight security plans for President Obama swearing-in
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Crowds may be smaller Monday than when Barack Obama was first sworn into office in 2009, but security is as tight as ever, with experts warning a “lone wolf” would pose the greatest threat.
Between 500,000 and 800,000 people are expected to pass through the National Mall, the immense greenway that leads up to the Capitol, compared to the 1.8 million spectators who came to applaud Obama four years ago.
Thousands of police – the official figure has not been made public – will fan across the area, with several posted at every street corner.
Airspace over Washington will be under tight surveillance, as will the Potomac River that runs along the city.
Teams on horseback and with bomb-sniffing dogs will crisscross the city looking for potential explosive devices.
More than 13,000 soldiers will attend the parade, behind a security cordon, to escort President Obama and to keep watch on the Capitol, the seat of Congress where he will be officially sworn into office.
There will be cameras everywhere – surveillance, media and tourist alike – a number of roads around the Mall will be closed to vehicles and spectators will be thoroughly searched, controlled and screened at each checkpoint.
On the roofs of the main buildings in the area, snipers will stand watch.
“We’re prepared for a variety of threats,” said US Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus.
He expressed confidence in the force’s “robust, multi-task security plan” that has been in the works for months.