Heightened security measures in Congress continue to slowly be rolled back, with fencing around the area coming down six months after the January 6 riot.
Footage has surfaced of crews taking down the fencing and concrete barriers set up in response to the Capitol riot.
Crews remove the fencing around the Capitol building. pic.twitter.com/QUUv6HureE
— The Hill (@thehill) July 10, 2021
Final hours of the thick metal fencing that enveloped the Capitol after Jan. 6. Most of these segments already had their bolts pulled last night so crews are making quick work of it all.
A lot of joggers stopping for photos: “They’re taking down the fence!” pic.twitter.com/sv9EPwvhWr
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) July 10, 2021
Crews began taking the fencing down on Friday evening and continued into Saturday. Many rushed to celebrate the barriers coming down, both in person and on social media.
6 months later! The fencing around the Capitol is being taken down. Great to have the Grand Dame back for the people. pic.twitter.com/ZTutGn4x4G
— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) July 10, 2021
A sizable crowd is gathering to take photos and enjoy the newly reopened Capitol campus as the last section of fence comes down. pic.twitter.com/ujq0YGN8me
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) July 10, 2021
Fencing around the Capitol, as well as other increased security measures, had become controversial with some lawmakers.
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, had been trying to get the fencing removed and the Capitol opened up again to the public for some time.
“The Capitol grounds were meant to be used as a park, a place for sledding, a place to come and enjoy the open air, and we want it to return to that use,” she told The Washington Post.
Two layers of fencing were erected around the Capitol following the events of January 6. The outer perimeter fencing was taken down in March, but the inner wall has remained, blocking the once open space from the public. Capitol police have said no new fencing is planned.
Some critics took the news of the fencing being removed and used it to blast the security measures as “political theater.”
“This part of the charade is over. Six months of political theater, pretending the Capitol was under imminent threat of attack from 70 million Republican voters,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) tweeted.
“Fort Pelosi” is without a fence again. I wonder how much money we wasted on this idiotic move. https://t.co/17NHPZQexv
— Mike Opelka (@stuntbrain) July 10, 2021
More than 500 people have been charged for their involvement in the Capitol riot, though many have seen their trials and potential deals delayed as the Justice Department has been making the costly effort to put together all footage, social media posts and documents surrounding the January 6 incident into a database.
Even with the fencing gone, the Capitol is facing some potentially expensive changes, with the House approving a $1.9 billion package in May to finance strengthening the Capitol’s security with extra surveillance and reinforced windows, among other things.