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Troops guard US Capitol, one week after riots

Soldiers stare up at ceiling of US Capitol building

One week after deadly unrest at the heart of the US government, photographs are going viral of National Guard troops keeping watch over the Capitol.

The images, showing a heavy security presence inside and outside the building, are a complete contrast to the scenes of chaos broadcast around the world last week.

At least 10,000 members of the National Guard will be in Washington DC by Saturday and police officials say that number could be more than doubled for Joe Biden’s inauguration day next week.

Hundreds sleep in visitors hall of US Capitol ready to serve
Soldiers sit inside of visitors area, sitting on supplies including water bottles
Hundreds of National Guard sleep on the floor

The large deployment comes as the US House of Representatives votes on Wednesday on whether to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time for the role he played in last week’s violence.

Mr Trump is accused by the opposition Democratic Party, which has a majority in the House, of “incitement of insurrection” and some members of his own Republican party have indicated they will vote to charge him.

Many of the lawmakers voting today were caught up in the events of last week, when thousands of radical pro-Trump supporters broke into the Capitol complex as Congress voted to certify the presidential election results.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, walks past members of the National Guard as he arrives at the US Capitol in Washington
Downward view shows Guardsmen resting by a stairwell
Soldiers rest against statue of George Washington

After the building was secured and rioters cleared, a large fence was erected and thousands of National Guardsmen were brought in to help protect Congress.

As of Tuesday, the Pentagon approved those protecting the Capitol to carry lethal weapons as well as protective equipment.

US National Guard soldiers taking a break inside the US Capitol in Washington
National Guard are distributed weapons outside US Capitol

The highly visible show of force comes amid widespread criticism of the chaotic security situation last week and amid fears of further violence in the run-up to Mr Biden’s inauguration on 20 January.

The FBI, still hunting those responsible for last week’s violence, has issued warnings of possible armed protests and further unrest across the country in the coming days.

US National Guard riot shields are laid out at the ready outside the Capitol Building
Soldiers walk in a line outside the US Capitol

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