Friday, December 12, 2008

Feds Scurry to Dampen Camping Fears

The Washington Post reported this morning that camping will not be permitted on the Mall for the presidential inauguration, assuaging nervous Washingtonians that the projected three to five million attendees of the 2009 Inauguration might transform the center of the District into a makeshift campground.

US Park Police Spokesman Sgt Robert LaChance told reporters that it is "not legal to camp on the Mall" and that though it is open twenty-four hours a day, the 500 acre common in the heart of the city might be swept to check for bombs during the night, the Post reported. Sgt LaChance did not specify what exactly constitutes camping versus all night loitering.

In contrast to DC Mayor Adrian Fenty's comments that he expects Obama supporters to camp overnight for inauguration parade seating, Secret Service spokesman Malcolm D Wiley said that 7 am would be "the absolute earliest you can get to a sidewalk" along the parade route, the Post also reported.

Wiley also struck a more conservative tone about expected turnout to the inauguration. According to the Post, Wiley said, "we have nothing to suggest there will be four million." Mayor Fenty has put the estimated number of inauguration attendees at three to five million.

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