WASHINGTON – The U.S. Secret Service has removed fences and barricades that prevented people from walking to the fence on the North Lawn in front of the White House.
“Part of Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House sidewalk between NW 15th and 17th Streets have been reopened to foot and bicycle traffic,” the US Secret Service said in a statement Sunday. Later this summer, a National Park Service paving project will require the closure of Pennsylvania Avenue and adjacent areas.
Fence barriers were seen going up as early as June 2020 after protests ensued in response to the death of George Floyd. Last year, police forcibly evicted peaceful protesters from the Lafayette Square neighborhood using rubber bullets, smoke bombs and pepperballs before former President Donald Trump took a photo in front of the St. John’s Episcopal Church.
A report by the Home Office inspector general later revealed that federal police officers violently cleared the protesters so that a contractor could put up a fence, so as not to let Trump hold a photo op in a nearby church.
The report adds that the police at the scene did not coordinate well and that the US secret service began advancing on the protesters before the park police had a chance to warn them to go. disperse.
The fence was recently replaced with a fence about 13 feet high with wider and stronger posts, according to the National Park Service. The new fence incorporates anti-escalation and intrusion detection technology and is designed to mitigate current and future security threats.
The section of Pennsylvania Avenue NW directly across from the White House is generally closed to cars and open to pedestrians year-round, with occasional closures for maintenance or presidential moves. Lafayette Square, the park in front of the White House, is also open to the public and is rarely closed.