Federal agents are erecting a 'non-scalable' fence around the White House in apparent anticipation of Election Day unrest

·3 min read
  • Federal law-enforcement sources has told NBC News and CNN about plans to erect a "non-scalable" fence around the White House on Monday.

  • Tensions are high — across Washington, DC, and the rest of the country — ahead of what is expected to be a highly partisan election that could take multiple days to determine a result.

  • Two hundred and fifty National Guardsmen have also been put on standby ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, according to Bennett. They are reporting to the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police.

  • There have already been flare-ups between Republicans and Democrats across the country, and businesses have started boarding up their windows in anticipation of possible violence.

Federal agents are planning to erect a fence around the White House on Monday, on the eve of Election Day, according to NBC News reporter Geoff Bennett and CNN.

A federal law-enforcement source told Bennett that "crews will build a 'non-scalable' fence" on Monday "to secure the [White House] complex, Ellipse, and Lafayette Square," Bennett tweeted late Sunday.

Related video: How a handful of swing states could decide the 2020 election

Lafayette Square and the Ellipse are the parks to the immediate north and south of the White House. The three spaces take up more than 70 acres in total.

Bennett also reported that 250 National Guardsmen have been put on standby in Washington, DC, and are reporting to the city's metro police.

white house fence
A federal law enforcement source told NBC News that the fence will encompass the White House complex and Lafayette and Ellipse Squares, as marked here. Google Street View

Election Day on Tuesday looks to be more charged than usual, with far-right groups threatening to come out to the polls armed, and law-enforcement agencies in several cities planning for unrest and possible clashes in the street.

Stores in major cities like New York and Washington, DC, have also been boarding up their windows in anticipation of possible Election Day violence.

President Donald Trump was criticized after failing, in his first presidential debate with Democratic opponent Joe Biden, to condemn far-right groups like the Proud Boys and telling them instead to "stand back and stand by." Trump later claimed he was not familiar with the group.

Already there have been flare-ups between Republicans and Democrats across the country. In Topeka, Kansas, on Saturday, police said a man shot three people he believed stole Trump signs from his lawn, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Trump supporters took part in caravans across the country over the weekend, even shutting down traffic over the Mario Cuomo bridge in New York State.

saks fifth avenue new york boarded up
A man in New York City bikes past boarded up shop windows at Saks Fifth Avenue on November 1, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

The election has been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic, leading many to cast their votes early this year in record numbers.

And since many states won't start opening absentee or mail-in ballots until Election Day, it's likely that it could take multiple days to learn the winner, putting the country even more on edge while waiting for a result.

Last week, the International Crisis Group, a threat-tracking organization, released a 30-page report, saying that Americans faced an "unfamiliar danger" in the coming days.

"While Americans have grown used to a certain level of rancor in these quadrennial campaigns, they have not in living memory faced the realistic prospect that the incumbent may reject the outcome or that armed violence may result," the group wrote.

When reached for comment Monday, the White House referred Business Insider to the Secret Service. Neither the Secret Service nor the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia responded to requests for comment.

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