The U.S. Capitol will soon be free of the security fencing that was installed following the Jan. 6 attack by rioters and extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump, according to officials at the site.
Some of the fence has been dismantled, and the remainder will be removed as soon as Friday, according to the US Capitol Police.
Officials said the removal shouldn’t take any longer than two or three days, weather permitting, according to a department email to lawmakers reported by CNN and The Hill. Politico also reported the email from the House sergeant at arms.
“Based on the current threat environment, recent enhancements to [our] response capabilities and enhanced coordination with local, state and federal law enforcement, the Capitol Police Board is supporting [our] recommendation to remove the temporary fencing around Capitol Square,” U.S. Capitol Police wrote in the email.
The notice added, however, that the fencing could return if authorities feel there’s an appropriate threat.
“Please note that the architect of the Capitol has the ability to and will reinstall the temporary fencing should conditions warrant,” the email said.
The 7-foot-tall fencing and razor wire were installed on the previously open to the public grounds of the United States Capitol immediately after the Jan. 6 attack by pro-Trump rioters who attempted to disrupt Congress as lawmakers voted to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Several Capitol Police officers were injured during the riots, and officer Brian Sicknick was murdered when assailants damaged the facility and made their way into the chamber where lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College result.
Trump was impeached a second time for encouraging an insurgency by rallying followers and asking them to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to reverse the election results.
The United States Capitol Police first recommended making the security barrier permanent, which drew criticism from some legislators, but in February stated it should stay in place until at least September due to ongoing security concerns.
In late March, the outside ring of fencing that had been blocking traffic on Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. was removed.
The Justice Department said on Tuesday that more than 530 people have been charged in connection with the assault, which resulted in five deaths, more than 140 police injured, and $1.5 million in property damage.
Last month, the House agreed to accept Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to form a select committee of legislators to examine the violence. She revealed the panel’s members last week, including Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was removed of her GOP leadership position for criticising Trump and voted for his impeachment during the impeachment trial.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Capitol Police detailed a number of changes it has implemented or will soon implement that were recommended as a result of the January attack.
Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler