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Police Try To Calm Crowds on 3rd Street

(3rd and C NW) -- As crowds gather near C Street NW, authorities try to get a handle on the mass of people.

7:45 a.m.
Police are taking about 60 people at a time from the line on left and right to go through security. People are worried about getting to the Capitol in time for ceremonies. "It starts at 12," one frustrated guy yelled.

Another police officer with a bull horn again urged the anxious crowd to remain calm. "If you remain calm you will get through fastly," the officer said.

7:16 a.m.
A police officer with a bull horn walks up and down in front of crowds telling people if anyone pushes, they will shut the gates and not let anyone else on Capitol grounds. "Do not push" some people chant.

7 a.m.
A huge roar goes up and the crowd begins chanting Obama! Obama! Rumor works through the mass that Obama is here! Alas, the crowd comes to their senses and reverts back to complaining about the cold.

6:45 am
As marines and police prepare to let thousands through the gates to the Capitol, a chant began "Do not push" as many fear being crushed. "Oh God, this could be trouble," said Shirley Lance, 42, of Detroit.

-- Lori Aratani and Keith L. Alexander

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 7:10 AM ET
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And the mindless hordes chant....Obama....Obama....Obama, but 90% of them couldn't give you 3 good reasons why they voted for him. Pathetic.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | January 20, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

And the boo-bird commenters are up early...

@ignorance: What's the point of your comment? Obama won, he's going to be your president for the next 4 years. Can you give me 3 good reasons why Dubya should have been elected or re-elected? I can't think of any, but it doesn't matter anymore because that is in the past. This is the dawn of a new day and the air smelled never smelled so sweet!

Posted by: PlethoraOfPinatas | January 20, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I would have to be working security on the Mall today. Anyone who does not get in on time, whether due to their own procrastination or events beyond their control, will be outraged and blaming the security folks (who did not establish the policies in force today). So glad I'm watching this on TV.

Posted by: Sutter | January 20, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

The 3rd & C St. entrance to the parade was dangerous. Arrived at 5:30 to only be sucked in by the crowd with barely enough room to breathe. Shortly after the gates opened, the push from the crowd was immense and frightening. The security presence was not nearly sufficient to handle this. The public safety officials very poorly communicated what was going on to the crowd. Decided to leave at 8:30 due to fear of trampling.

Posted by: aring284 | January 20, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

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