US heightens security ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election

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(Photo: AP/Harvard Gazette)

Washington– With just a day left for the much-anticipated US presidential election, security measures have been heightened all across the country in the wake of poll-related violence.

In Washington, D.C., shopfronts are boarding up their windows with plywood or putting up other makeshift barriers, some of them stretching nearly entire blocks, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We do not have any intelligence on planned activity to suggest the need to board up; however, we remain vigilant,” John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor of Washington, D.C. for Planning and Economic Development, said in a statement on Sunday.

“We understand the difficult position building owners and operating businesses are in, and we call upon all who participate in First Amendment activities to denounce violence and report it immediately should it occur,” he said.

Fences have been erected around the White House, where demonstrators gathered on Saturday night to protest against President Donald Trump.

Cardboards with anti-Trump slogans were attached on the fences.

Similar scenes of businesses protecting their properties also appeared in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked residents to express their political opinions in a safe way.

“What I’m encouraging people to do is to express themselves… But do it in a way that honors our traditions,” she told the media.

“We don’t have the right to take out our frustration, our anger, on someone else.”

Chicago “is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to planning for” Election Day security arrangement, Rich Guidice, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said in a press conference this month.

“We have been performing drills and holding workshops to be ready to respond to any situation or possible event that should occur in this city before, on or after Election Day.”

While officials said there have been no credible threats of violence on or after the Election Day on Tuesday, they could not stress more about being vigilant against those incidents.

“It’s no secret that this election is more contentious than in years past,” Terence Monahan, chief of department for the New York Police Department, said last week while outlining election security plans.

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. police have cancelled leaves for officers to ensure adequate staff, and the District spent $100,000 on less-lethal munitions and chemical irritants for riot control to replenish a stockpile depleted by clashes over the summer, the Washington Post reported.

Police advisory signs were put up on light poles along streets adjacent to the White House, while the use of firearms have been prohibited until five days after the election.

Shutdown D.C., an activist group in the nation’s capital, is organizing weeks-long demonstrations starting on Tuesday, calling on participants to join in on election night, as an event is planned at the Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is a block away from the White House.

The event will include a giant screen showing election results, as well as performances by bands playing Washington’s signature go-go music.

George Washington University in Washington, D.C. has recommended that students prepare for Election Day as they would for disasters like snowstorm or hurricane and stockpile food, supplies and medicine enough for a week’s consumption.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading Trump by 10 percentage points nationally, according to a new poll.

Biden’s support stands at 52 per cent to Trump’s 42 per cent among national registered voters, the NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll revealed on Sunday.

This final pre-election poll found that Biden was ahead of Trump by six points, 51 per cent to 45 per cent, in 12 combined battleground states, namely Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The poll was released as both presidential candidates were still making last-ditch effort to secure ballots in battleground states.

Biden visited Pennsylvania on Sunday, as Trump had planned five rallies in five key states — Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. (IANS)

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