Washington, January 18
Participants in a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration were evacuated from the West Front of the Capitol on Monday on orders of security officials after a fire in a homeless encampment, officials said.
Those who had gathered for a walk-through, including a military band, were directed to head indoors and moved in the directed of a secure location inside the Capitol complex.
People involved in the rehearsal said security officials yelled “this is not a drill.”
An official statement said that police had ordered a lockdown of the complex because of an
external security threat”.
The statement said: “In an abundance of caution following external security threat near the US Capitol, police ordered a shutdown of the complex”.
“US Capitol members and staff were asked to shelter in place while the incident is investigated,” the statement went on to say. “There are currently no fires on or within the Capitol Campus”.
US Secret Service said in a tweet that there was “no threat to the public”.
The lockdown comes just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and follows the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in Washington by extremists and Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Biden’s election victory.