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Washington fortifies itself by fear of riots after elections


The sound of hammering, of a drill and a saw in action: here’s the soundtrack of the American capital a few days from the presidential election.

In the event of a close race and delayed results, some fear catastrophic scenarios in which supporters of both candidates would take to the streets to demand the withdrawal of the opponent, or even take up arms.

East Weekend, large number of shops in the center of Washington protected their shop windows with wooden planks faced with the fears of demonstrations that could arise during or after the electoral journey Tuesday.

Teams of workers fanned out on every corner, surrounding the office buildings in Downtown DC, in a sign of the nervousness across the country as the elections approach.

And President Donald Trump, seeking a second term, did not reassure spirits by repeatedly refusing to make clear whether, should he be defeated on November 3, he would peacefully relinquish power.

‘It is better prevent’

Sean Anger, a construction manager for a company in nearby Maryland, says he has been busy building barricades in at least 20 buildings in recent days. A service that costs thousands of dollars.

We did this at the time of the riots a few months ago, “he recalls, as his colleagues nail down large panels that they tailor to display cases.

During the spring, large anti-racist demonstrations broke out in Washington and other US cities, some of which were marked by violence and resulted in looting. Many of the shields that are now being installed had been removed only a few weeks ago.

We had a broken window the first night of the protests. There was damage all over the street, “says Kosta Abatzis, owner of a men’s clothing store located one block from the White House.

I hate to see this, but it’s better than having to go through the entire procedure of replacing (a window through the insurance company), “he adds.

Alexandre Provenzano, owner of a nearby hairdresser, also complains:

We left the tables up for two months and now I’m going to have this until January, for the inauguration (of the president). This is how I’m going to spend the holidays. “

It is very difficult to work in these conditions, you cannot even see the name of my salon, “he laments.

In spite of everything, “better safe than sorry”.

‘Chaos and confusion’

Police in the capital announced street closures in a wide area around the White House on Nov. 3-4.

We know that some people would like to create chaos and confusion, “said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser at a news conference Thursday.

We do not have any specific information on the matter, but we are prepared to keep the city safe, “he added.

Several organizations already have planned demonstrations. One of them, Shutdown DC, presented a permit to conglomerate up to 10,000 people in Black Lives Matter Square, in front of the White House, on the night of November 3.

Between music and speeches, a large screen showing the election results is planned for the event.

But anticipating possible confrontations, the organization also launched trainings for its members: interactions with the police and other groups of protesters, techniques for de-escalation of violence …

We’ve been preparing for a long time, “said Hope Neyer, Shutdown DC’s press officer.

Unfortunately, we are willing to take risks because we know how important this moment is, “he said.