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Capitol on high alert for Biden’s first address to Congress

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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday will take place in a US Capitol on high alert, with memories fresh of the deadly January 6 attack on the building by supporters of his predecessor, Donald Trump.


The crowd inside the Capitol will be a fraction of the hundreds of members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, top government officials and guests who typically attend, to allow for more social distancing in a Covid-19 pandemic that has killed more than 572,000 Americans.


But security will be higher than usual, even for what is officially designated a “National Special Security Event,” with the Secret Service in charge of security.


The white-domed building is still surrounded by a black steel mesh fence with some 2,250 armed National Guard troops from 18 states plus the District of Columbia on duty in the city, the vestiges of a much larger force put in place after Trump supporters stormed the building as Congress was voting to certify Biden’s election victory.


Five people including a US Capitol Police officer died from the violence and dozens of police were injured in clashes with rioters. — Reuters


 


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