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Fence reinstalled around Capitol building ahead of Biden’s State of the Union

WASHINGTON — Fencing has been reinstalled around the U.S. Capitol ahead of possible protests that could collide with President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this week.

The fence is the same barrier that remained around the Capitol for months after the Jan. 6 riot and during the “Justice for J6” rally, when supporters of people arrested in the attack rallied outside the building.

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Sunday that a plan had been approved to reinstall the inner perimeter fence to “protect the United States Congress, the Capitol, and the legislative process.”

Feb. 23, 202205:11

“In light of the upcoming State of the Union Address, and the possibility of demonstrations in the next couple of weeks, we have been working closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on a security plan to prevent any disruption to the important work of Congress,” Manger said in a statement.

The Defense Department has approved requests to deploy hundreds of National Guard troops to help police with traffic control. About 400 of the troops will be from Washington, and as many as 300 will come from outside the capital, the National Guard said in a statement last week.

Manger said his agency has also requested further security assistance from outside law enforcement agencies, in addition to its request to the National Guard.

Several roads around the Capitol will be closed to traffic from 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Capitol Police said in a separate statement Sunday, noting that they are the same road closures the agency has enforced in the past and saying they are “not related to the potential truck and vehicle convoys.”

Officials say they expect higher-than-normal traffic in the coming days as commercial truck and vehicle operators plan to protest in the area.

Truckers have protested at the Canadian border and in Ottawa over pandemic restrictions in recent weeks. In the U.S., a collection of pro-Trump groups, anti-vaccination supporters, QAnon believers and others has sought to organize similar events. With different starting points, routes and departure dates, some could arrive in time for the State of the Union on Tuesday.

Frank Thorp V contributed.