By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The National Guard stood 24-hour guard at the United States Capitol after last week’s violence, with off-duty members staying for naps in the hallways and under the Bust of General George Washington, who led the United States to victory in its battle for independence against Great Britain more than two centuries ago. A large presence of uniformed guards carrying rifles guarded the exterior of the building, while others lined the halls of the Capitol. The House of Representatives was meeting to consider impeaching President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 attack on American democracy, when his supporters stormed the building in a deadly uproar. While National Guard troops have been stationed inside and outside Congress headquarters since at least Friday, they had not been armed with rifles before. Now, some of the 20,000 National Guard soldiers ordered to Washington to secure the city before President-elect Joe Biden‘s inauguration on January 20 have weapons in hand. Riot shields and gas masks are piled up in the corridors. New fences and other security measures have also been erected around the building, which is considered by many to be an important global symbol of democracy. A seven-foot (two-meter) high fence has been erected around the Capitol, with metal barriers and National Guard troops guarding the congressional office buildings that surround it. “The attack on the Capitol was a violent insurrection that resulted in the shedding of American blood,” said US Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York. “And that is why extraordinary security measures have been taken.” The officers were brutally beaten. The attackers wanted to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence, and hunt down members of Congress. That is insurrection. That is sedition. That is anarchy. That’s terror, “Jeffries said. States have frequently used National Guard troops to help law enforcement quell protests over the past year. However, the decision to arm them with weapons highlights fears about the threat of more violence in the days leading up to the inauguration. Officials have said that it is important that troops are armed for their self-defense and that they are still in a role of supporting law enforcement. “The Capitol has responded in a manner appropriate to address the nature of the severe security threat posed by domestic terrorists and white supremacists, “Jeffries said. He said the National Guard had already been considered part of the security bubble for the inauguration, but based on In the events of the past week, security had been increased.With only a week before the inauguration, many Republicans have questioned whether Congress will he’s moving too fast on impeachment. ” Impeach the president in such a short amount of time would be a mistake, “said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the House’s top Republican.” That doesn’t mean the president is blameless. The President is responsible for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. ”
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