58 federal, state, and local agencies on duty in D.C.
By Eileen Sullivan
The Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Security in downtown D.C. was high Sunday, as President-elect Barack Obama attended church, visited Arlington Cemetery and joined tens of thousands of people at the Lincoln Memorial for a special pre-inauguration concert.
There were no major incidents as of late afternoon.
Two days from the White House, Obama attended a church service at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in northwest Washington and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Sunday's main event was a concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which included performances from Beyonce, U2, Bruce Springsteen and others. A crowd expected to reach up to a half-million stretched past the reflecting pool separating the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
A large portion of downtown streets had restricted access due to the concert. There were additional airspace restrictions from noon to 6 p.m. And there were six law enforcement officers visible on the roof of the Lincoln Memorial during the performance.
Officials responded to some suspicious packages around Washington throughout the day, but all the packages were cleared and determined not to be dangerous.
"This is to be expected over the next few days, considering the security level surrounding the inauguration," FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said.
This is the largest inaugural security operation in history, with 58 federal, state and local agencies working together. Thousands of extra police, military troops and law enforcement agents, including plainclothes officers roaming the crowds, will be on hand to handle the potentially 2 million people who could descend on the nation's capital Tuesday. The far-reaching security includes thousands of video cameras, sharpshooters and air patrols to safeguard Obama's swearing-in. "It's actually been a very quiet day," Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley said Sunday. The Secret Service is the lead agency for inauguration security operations.
Sunday morning, a man suffered a heart attack at 20th and Constitution and was taken to George Washington Memorial Hospital.
There were also a few protesters, one group at 17th and Constitution, protesting gay rights, according to the FBI.
U.S. Park Police Chief Sal Lauro said a few children were separated from their parents before the concert but eventually reunited.
Intelligence officials say there are no specific threats to the inauguration. But the high visibility of the event, the presence of dignitaries and the significance of swearing in the first black president make it a vulnerable target.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press
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