DC Council all agree fencing around Capitol should be removed

Leaders in the District are banding together – asking for the three miles of fencing around the U.S. Capitol to come down.

Some of the giant fencing, topped with razor wire, makes the people who live in DC feel like a prison or militarized zone is in their back yard.

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"It’s a lot of protection that’s giving the Capitol which is good, but it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It feels like we’re in a strange neighborhood," said Henrietta Rose, D.C. Resident.

Others like, Nancy Merrit, who have lived next to the Capitol for the past six years believe the intense security measures does not show strength, it promotes fear.

"It’s pretty discouraging and sad. So proud of the guardsmen, Capitol police, DC police, and everyone who came to the rescue January 6, but this is the people’s house and there needs to be some other means of securing those senators and congressmen and it’s just disheartening because that was our go-to people," said Nancy Merrit.

That’s why all DC council members signed a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asking for the fencing to come down.

The letter states street closures are impacting emergency response times for officers and firefighters. The shutdown is also causing transportation troubles for residents to work, school, healthcare, or other needs while traveling by car, bus, foot, or bike.

Officials believe this problem will only grow in the coming months as the District becomes more active with COVID-19 cases dropping and vaccinations increasing.

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen who represents this area says the letter is also on behalf of the millions of Americans who visit the Capitol Grounds to walk around and stand close to the building in awe of its beauty.

"When the Capitol was designed, there was intentionality around having a big movement for public space where the governed are able to have access to those who make decisions for them. That space, that intimacy, that physical proximity is an important part of the division of our democracy and of the Capitol. A permanent fence destroys that," said Allen.

Capitol Police are asking Congressional leaders to keep the fencing up for several more months.

DC Councilmembers are waiting for official statements in response to this letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.