Workers removed most of the austere concrete barricades and stark black fences that ringed the U.S. Capitol building on Saturday, allowing tourists and D.C. locals to fill the Capitol grounds for the first time since a mob of pro-Trump rioters breached the building in January.
Multiple layers of fencing have cut off the Capitol since Jan. 6, when scores of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed Capitol Hill, rushed law enforcement and breached the building — though security officials began gradually scaling back the outer layers of fencing between January and March.
The removal process for the final pieces of fencing began Friday, and the fence was almost completely dismantled by Saturday afternoon, even though House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker said the process could take at least three days, in part due to severe weather.
“It’s been so long. We used to come here almost every day, just to run the dog,” D.C. resident Lianne, who visited the Capitol shortly after the fencing was removed, told Forbes. “I think it’s a hugely important space. When this was closed, there was such a dearth of other green areas, just for people to be around.”
What To Watch For
Lawmakers have proposed various alternatives to a permanent fence, but no decision appears to have been made by the time the fence came down Saturday. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told Forbes in March one solution being considered is retractable fencing and rapid response teams.