Law enforcement in Washington DC is preparing for possible protests and unrest ahead of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday, CNN reports.
Law enforcement officials told CNN that a number of factors have contributed to a “heightened security response,” including planned protests and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
DC Police Chief Robert Contee said Monday that the department is receiving assistance from the Philadelphia and Baltimore police departments.
Capitol Police are also on high alert and requested a fence around the inner perimeter of the Capitol grounds to boost security ahead of the speech.
Customs and Border Protection will provide aerial support for the event while Secret Service will lead the security response.
The National Guard has approved 700 troops and 50 large vehicles for the event.
The speech comes as multiple trucker convoys inspired by last month’s Canadian protests are planned to arrive in DC. Contee said the convoys would be allowed but truckers who disrupt traffic and refuse to move would be arrested.
"Obviously, we'd like to get voluntary compliance," Contee said. "If we have someone who fails to obey the lawful directive of an officer, a traffic officer in this sense -- you know, 'Hey move your vehicle out of the roadway,' that type of thing -- that person ultimately ... could be arrested for that type of behavior and disruption."
A Department of Homeland Security memo over the weekend warned that the arrival of the convoys during the event "could raise the public profile of any associated convoys that do materialize, increasing the likelihood that the protest activity could attract some domestic violent extremists.”
Russian cyber fears?
Officials are also concerned by potential cyber threats, particularly in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
"Certainly, the events abroad are, not only just in the physical space, but also in cyberspace," said Christopher Rodriguez, director of Washington's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. "There is the potential for Russian disinformation. This wouldn't be the first time the Russians have done that across the United States in the last several years."