Crime & Justice

High fence set up around Supreme Court after abortion protests

Washington, May 5 (EFE).- An eight-foot-high metal fence was erected by police around the US Supreme Court building on Wednesday night/Thursday morning after the protests both for and against abortion that have taken place in recent days outside the high court.

Besides the fence, which surrounds the entire building, the access street to the court remains blocked and a large number of police have been deployed at the site to monitor and aid pedestrians in the area.

In front of the high court building on Thursday afternoon, a small group of protesters – most of them supporters of the right to abortion – tirelessly chanted slogans with the theme that “Our rights are not up for discussion.” Some passersby moving through the area temporarily joined the group in chanting their slogans.

Also demonstrating a short distance away was a somewhat smaller group of anti-abortion demonstrators, one of them carrying a cross with the words “Jesus loves you” and wearing a red baseball cap bearing the “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan of former President Donald Trump.

Although both groups of protesters regularly got into verbal altercations with one another, the police stationed in front of the court told EFE that the protests were peaceful, apart from “a few troublemakers here and there.”

One of the pro-choice demonstrators told EFE that there was no reason to install the fence since the protests have been completely peaceful saying, “I don’t know why they put it there.”

Police also said that they don’t expect the fence to do any good in dissuading further demonstrations. One officer said that the group of people who gathered before the doors of the court has remained more or less the same size since Wednesday, although more people have been showing up during the afternoons.

Washington authorities have been much more prepared to control crowds since the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, when a group of angry demonstrators, most of them Trump supporters who had just been fired up by the then-president himself at a nearby rally, tried to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s November 2020 presidential election win.

Five people died in the violence that day and about 140 Capitol police and other security agents were attacked by the huge mob, with some of them being seriously injured.

The protests in front of the Supreme Court have been taking place since Monday night, when a draft was leaked of a prospective high court opinion that would eliminate the traditional legal protection of abortion in the US, placing in the hands of the states the power to ban or allow abortions.

The Supreme Court has confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion, written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, although it has said that no definitive decision on such a ruling has been made yet.

The court is scheduled to issue its ruling on the matter sometime in mid-summer.

EFE jdg/pamp/jrh/bp

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