DC mayor extends declaration of emergency until day after Biden’s inauguration

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended an emergency declaration in the city until January, 21, the day after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, following the breach of the U.S. Capitol Building by hundreds of people Wednesday.

“Today, First Amendment protests turned violent. Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction and have engaged in violence and destruction. They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles, and guns,” her order says.

“They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotous behavior has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol,” the order continued. “Their motivation is ongoing. Today, they sought to disrupt the Congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes.”

The order also notes that D.C. City Administrator Kevin Donahue now has the authority to put measures in place that he feels are “necessary or appropriate to protect persons and property in the District of Columbia from the conditions caused by this public emergency.”

In addition, Bowser’s order empowers several other leaders including the city administrator, deputy mayor, and chief financial officer to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance to “recoup expenditures incurred, or obtain funding needed, under this order.”

Following Wednesday’s Capitol Building breach, Bowser ordered a 6 p.m. curfew. One of the protesters, 14-year Air Force veteran Ashley Babbit of San Diego, was shot on Capitol grounds and later died at an area hospital.

The new order did not say whether the curfew would remain, but it did provide law enforcement the authority to move people off the streets if one is reestablished.

“During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand or motor by car or other modes of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public spaces within the District,” the order states.

While the vast majority of attendees were peaceful, several hundred people who attended a “Stop the Steal” rally on Wednesday in support of President Donald Trump, broke away from the main crowd and stormed the U.S. Capitol Building.

Protesters blasted through several layers of barriers, clashed with police, and broke out windows and smashed doors to get inside the building, where a joint session of Congress was meeting to certify electors.

In a video message, President Trump repeated earlier claims that the election was “stolen,” and condemned the violence, and implored demonstrators to remain peaceful.

“We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order, we don’t want anybody hurt,” he said. “It’s a very tough period of time, there’s never been a time like this…This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace.”

Several other Republicans also blasted the protesters who breached the Capitol, with many calling on them to be fully prosecuted.

“This violence is unacceptable and needs to be met with the full force of the law. God bless the Capitol Police who are keeping us safe,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a U.S. Army veteran, tweeted. “Violence and anarchy are unacceptable. We are a nation of laws. This needs to end now.”

Jon Dougherty

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