With the U.S. Capitol grounds now a venerable fortress, anxious D.C. residents in the surrounding communities are asking how they will be protected
“I don’t know what to expect other than I’m just afraid someone or many people are going to get killed,” ANC Commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert said.
“I’m so worried about this week, I can’t even tell you,” ANC Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk said. “And the neighbors are worried, and nobody is giving us any information.”
As the mob of insurrectionists stormed the Capitol last week, police were two blocks away in Samolyk’s neighborhood investigating a pipe bomb
Photos: Tensions Run High as DC Increases Security Ahead of the Inauguration
With the inauguration approaching, she wants to know if there are any credible threats of violence.
“If I’m supposed to be the person who is the representative of my ANC and the people around me, I need to get them information,” she said.
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In a letter to District leaders, dozens of ANC commissioners urged the D.C. government to take all possible steps to prevent another invasion of armed insurrectionists and protect D.C. residents. The letter specifically mentions protecting Black churches and calls for better enforcement of restrictions on mass gatherings.
On Monday, President Donald Trump approved Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request for an emergency declaration, but after some of her neighbors were approached by trump supporters last week Phillips-Gilbert is worried it may not be enough.
“We don’t even know what’s really going on, how to secure and protect the community,” she said.
D.C. Chief of Police Robert Contee tried to ensure the public Monday the department would be ready and pointed to the Capitol riot as evidence.
“While dealing with these issues at the Capitol, we still had MPD members available to respond to any emergencies in our neighborhood,” he said.
With thousands of National Guard troops on the ground, Phillips-Gilbert hopes there will be enough manpower to protect the seat of democracy and the city she calls home.
“The city is on high alert,” she said. “The neighbors are on high alert. It’s just sad; it’s an occasion which we should all be rejoicing.”