Fearing poll-related violence, White House, US businesses take additional security cover

Washington:  Security has been tightened at the White House, major commercial avenues and shopping districts in the United States as officials feared street violence on Election Day.

Vital government installations are on high alert. The Secret Service has fortified the White House, a non-scalable high wall has been temporarily erected around the sprawling presidential complex ahead of the voting on Tuesday.

On election eve, contractors were seen busy boarding up major stores and businesses from New York and Boston in the north to southern Houston to Washington DC and Chicago in the east to San Francisco in the West.

Boarding is the commercial term used for installing wooden platforms as protective covers for windows, it includes other makeshift security measures.

The 2020 US election has been billed as one of the most divisive in recent American history.

Supporters on both sides, including the groups involved in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ agitation, have announced a gathering in downtown Washington DC on Tuesday night as the results start to trickle in after the counting of votes.

Washington DC, where scores of shops and businesses were damaged during the violent race protests earlier this year after George Floyd’s death in police custody, saw exaggerated security activity.

“Fearing post-election violence, retailers board up windows and hire extra security, The Washington Post reported.

Retailers have already sustained an estimated USD 1 billion in insured losses from property damage and theft this year, according to early estimates from the Insurance Information Institute, making this year’s protests the costliest civil disorder in U.S. history,” the daily said.

In Chicago, a number of stores along its famed Magnificent Mile have downed their shutters and boarded up the windows.

Similarly, the Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and midtown New York City have taken precaution. Rodeo Drive houses the world’s top designer labels, including Armani, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana.

Walmart, earlier in the week, had removed guns and ammunition from its outlet.

The police chief of Beverly Hills, California has warned about election-motivated violence. On Monday, he told CBS News that officers were working on 12-hour shifts with no days off.

“Basically what we are doing is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Chief Dominick Rivetti told the news channel.

The country holds its breath in anticipation of what some fear could be a potential breakdown of law and order or democracy depending on what happens Tuesday, NBC News said.

Late on Monday evening, President Donald Trump tweeted that the Supreme Court’s decision on counting of votes in Pennsylvania will incite violence.

The top court has allowed ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day in Pennsylvania.

The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done! Trump wrote. Twitter flagged the tweet.

Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process, the social media giant said.

Biden refused to comment. I’m not going to respond to anything he has to say. I’m hoping for a straightforward, peaceful election with a lot of people showing up, Biden told reporters when asked on Trump’s tweet.

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