Home News After the Capitol Riot, a Winter Custom Is Interrupted

After the Capitol Riot, a Winter Custom Is Interrupted

After the Capitol Riot, a Winter Custom Is Interrupted

WASHINGTON — As inches of snow pile up throughout Washington’s biggest winter storm in two years, there may be one place that gained’t be seeing any snowball fights.

The Capitol grounds, among the finest spots within the metropolis for sledding, are actually off limits, one other reverberation of the rampage there on Jan. 6.

Consultant Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s nonvoting Home delegate, has urged the Capitol Police to permit the custom to proceed this week. The exercise might be carried out safely, Ms. Norton stated in an announcement on Saturday, “by permitting solely youngsters and adults accompanied by youngsters” into the world.

However a Capitol Police spokeswoman, Eva Malecki, citing the present safety considerations and the town’s coronavirus restrictions, stated it couldn’t be permitted. “We, nevertheless, stay up for welcoming sledders again sooner or later,” she stated in an announcement.

Whereas a rule in opposition to sledding on the Capitol grounds has been in place for many years, it was hardly ever enforced till after the terrorist assaults on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ms. Norton has pushed for sledding to be allowed on the grounds for years, routinely including a provision to the annual federal spending invoice to “forbear enforcement” of the ban talked about on Web page 175 of the Capitol Police laws. She first succeeded in slipping the pro-sledding provision into the omnibus spending invoice in 2016. (“Go for it!” she told the city’s residents after the ban was lifted that 12 months.)

The earlier 12 months, Washingtonians held a “snow-in” on the advanced to protest the rule.

The ban has been revived at one other second of heightened tensions. As an alternative of kids making snowmen and snow angels, guests to the Capitol advanced as of late are greeted by seven-foot-tall, unscalable fencing that went up after the riot.

Chief Pittman, who took over the division when her predecessor resigned days after the riot, stated that consultants had argued for higher safety measures for the Capitol even earlier than the Sept. 11 assaults and {that a} safety evaluation in 2006 advisable a everlasting fence.

However in a attempting 12 months, Ms. Norton stated, the sledding custom was one pleasure that shouldn’t be erased.

“Kids throughout America have endured an especially difficult 12 months,” she stated, “and D.C. youngsters particularly haven’t solely endured the coronavirus pandemic however now the militarization of their metropolis, with the hostile symbols of fences and barbed wire. Sledding is a straightforward, childhood thrill. It’s the least we will enable for our resilient youngsters this winter season.”