Businesses Are Boarding Up As Cities Prepare For Civil Unrest Following Election
Leaders and business owners are taking precautions ahead of the 2020 presidential election that may incite widespread demonstrations.
Local leaders and businesses nationwide are preparing for the possibility of widespread civil unrest after the election by adding security protocol and boarding up property.
Storefronts, restaurants, and other street-facing businesses have been shown in pictures and video boarded up days before voting concludes on November 3. In New York City, stores were already covered as early as Friday, including many high-end retail stores that line the notable Fifth Avenue in Manhattan — the same street that Trump Tower is located on.
A recent study released last week by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project and MilitiaWatch identified the states most at-risk for heightened activity from armed militia groups that pose a threat around the election. Researchers tracked 80 militia groups — “the vast majority of which are right wing armed groups” — and found that cities in states including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon are at the highest risk for “increased militia activity.”
Businesses have been preparing for protests and potential looting in cities including Los Angeles, where luxury stores in Beverly Hills have begun the process of boarding up. The local police department in Beverly Hills said last week that it would “be on full alert” throughout the area and have additional security throughout the week.
Businesses in Boston, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, and Detroit have also started to prepare for the potential of demonstrations.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot both announced last week that they were preparing their respective areas for demonstrations. Lightfoot revealed a 10-day preparedness plan that officially started last week. Her plan involves increased police presence and adding makeshift blockades throughout the city. Newsom “did not elaborate” on the state’s added precautions, Politico reported.
In Washington D.C., police are preparing for unrest immediately after the election and around Inauguration Day in January when the president-elect is sworn in. The D.C. police department announced Monday street closures in case protests occur. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also declared a state of emergency starting Monday at 5 p.m. until Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The contentious election comes after a summer of widespread protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Businesses were shown boarded up after some of those demonstrations led to looting and rioting, though a report published in September found that the summer protests were largely peaceful.