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US Capitol Police seek extension of National Guard amid security concerns

A US Capitol police officer guards an entrance to the Capitol grounds in Washington, DC, on March 4, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Amidst concerns about security and the likelihood of more violence at the US Capitol, members of the US National Guard have been asked to extend their deployment for another two months.

The Capitol Police’s request is being reviewed by the Pentagon, according to media reports.

It comes almost two months after scores of pro-Trump supporters ran amok and stormed the US Congress in an unprecedented event that left five people dead and several injured.

Tensions continue to simmer in the Capitol with law enforcement agencies on continous alert.

On Thursday, the US intelligence slueths announced high alert around the US Capitol area after uncovering a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building.

The alleged plot is reportedly linked to a far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters, who claimed the former US President Donald Trump would return to power on March 4.

The fear and threat prompted the House of Representatives to call off its Thursday session.

The 60-day extension for the National Guard means they need volunteers from other states to meet the demand, with over  5,000 members currently in Washington scheduled to go home on March 12.

“We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers,” the Capitol Police said in a statement on Thursday.

It further said the police department is working with local, state, and federal partners to “stop any threats to the Capitol.”

In her weekly news conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the National Guard troops should remain there for “as long as they are needed,” indicating that the Congress members are not willing to take any chances with rioters.

Lawmakers have held several hearings in recent weeks to understand the events of January 6 and the role of local and federal agencies in it.

While some officials have blamed shoddy intelligence for it, some have blamed each each, highlighting the deep rot in the US security and intelligence networks.

The US Justice Department has charged more than 300 people so far for taking part in the deadly insurrection, even as the probe continues. 

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