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All The Roadblocks Leading To The Inauguration

An empty city with lots of checkpoints, lots of road closures.

Last updated on January 20, 2021, at 1:45 p.m. ET

Posted on January 20, 2021, at 6:16 a.m. ET

In earlier times, the inauguration was a celebration that turned Washington, DC, into a party town, regardless of which side had won. The idea of being a passerby and watching the inaugural parade was already threatened this year by the coronavirus pandemic, which has curtailed many of the traditional parties that accompany the transfer of presidential power. Right now, no one except vetted guests and select members of the media are getting anywhere close to the festivities, leading to a surreal feeling of a made-for-TV democracy, something that can be performed on a soundstage and beamed into your home.

It's still unsettling to see the country's capital so locked down. The current show of extreme force makes sense in the wake of the storming of the Capitol building two weeks ago, and security for past events with world leaders was already pretty tight. Blocks of downtown DC have turned into a maze of road closures that is increasingly hard to navigate as the Secret Service sets up checkpoints and security clearance zones. Waterways are patrolled by boat, drones are forbidden in the skies, and the streets are empty as residents hunker down. Photographer Greg Kahn explored the streets of Washington, DC, for BuzzFeed News ahead of Inauguration Day.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Fencing outside the Capitol at sunrise, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Cement barriers block roads inside the "green zone" near the Capitol, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Constitution Avenue NW, facing west from the Capitol, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

National Guard members stop drivers at a checkpoint outside Mount Vernon Square, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Military members patrol near the Capitol, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

National Guard members walk behind the secured perimeter at the Supreme Court, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

A concrete barrier on Parkway Drive, near the Lincoln Memorial, keeps traffic away, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Layers of barriers keep people away from the National Mall, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Military vehicles and fencing mark the end of the "red zone," Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn / Greg Kahn / GRAIN

Members of the media set up for live broadcasts during the inauguration of President Biden in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

A runner passes by steps that are fenced off near the Memorial Bridge, Jan. 18, 2021.

Greg Kahn / Greg Kahn / GRAIN

A helicopter circles downtown D.C. during the inauguration of President Biden in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.


Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Visitors and residents on bicycles try to get a view of the Capitol.

Greg Kahn / Greg Kahn / GRAIN

Guards patrol the barriers blocking road in downtown D.C. during the inauguration of President Biden in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

A memorial outside the Capitol for officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed during the attack on the building.

Greg Kahn / Greg Kahn / GRAIN

Programs being sold on the street near Union Station during the inauguration of President Biden in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

Greg Kahn for BuzzFeed News

Starlings fly past the Capitol, Jan. 18, 2021.

UPDATE

4 additional images were added






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