Only a few days left and Donald Trump struggles to hold the White House against challenger Joe Biden as the country breaks its daily record for new COVID-19 cases and security experts warn that the vote will resume on November 3rd Riot.
Hrair Balian of the Carter Center’s conflict resolution program said some of the events in the United States were alarming.
“We fear that guns, protests and elections don’t go well together,” said Balian said NPR.
Here are some of the precautions that should be taken should tension arise.
Retailers get in
Shops step into their windows and raise security in anticipation of possible protests.
Videos filmed in New York and Washington showed several retailers taking precautionary measures, including large department store chain Macy’s.
High-end stores Nordstrom and Tiffany and Co are also planning to step inside the windows of select stores, with Nordstrom hiring additional security guards, according to the New York Times. Saks Fifth Avenue told the newspaper that “in the event of civil unrest in certain locations, additional security measures will be taken”.
Pictures on social media also showed stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco were boarded up, and stores in Chicago reportedly did the same.
The police are using more officers
Police departments in major cities across the country are putting more officers on the streets as part of the election, or on standby if problems arise.
In Beverly Hills, police will shut down the city’s famous Rodeo Drive shopping district on Tuesday and Wednesday in anticipation of possible “increased demonstration and protest activity.”
City officials are getting additional assistance from other law enforcement officers and private security companies.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department will be on alert throughout the residential and business district,” Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said earlier this week.
“While we hope for peaceful weeks, your police department is ready to protect your city.”
Meanwhile, officials in New York City and other metropolitan areas have been conducting “table exercises” to prepare for emergency scenarios surrounding the elections, ranging from demonstrations to bombs.
According to director Jared Maples, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness will monitor online activities on election day if protesters are supposed to gather around polling stations.
In Chicago, authorities have discussed options that involve mass protests involving violence and property destruction.
“Chicago: We have to be smart, safe and peaceful,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week.
“Regardless of the results of next Tuesday’s elections, we all know that the elections will be high because they are already.
“I urge you to transform these emotions into peaceful and productive forms of expression.”
Social networks try to fight misinformation
Social media platforms are now taking steps to limit the spread of election-related misinformation on the Internet or calls for violence.
Instagram announced on Thursday that it would temporarily remove the “last” tab from the hashtag pages for users in the US.
“We are doing this to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content in real time that could arise in connection with the elections,” said a statement from the social media platform.
The Recent tab arranges hashtags in chronological order and expands the content. However, researchers have warned that automated amplification can lead to the rapid spread of misinformation.
Earlier this month, Twitter announced that it would be removing tweets urging people to interfere in the electoral process, including through violence.
Twitter has also announced several temporary steps to slow down content amplification. For example, global users who click “Retweet” will be directed to the “Quote Tweet” button first at least until the end of polling week to encourage users to add their own comment.
Facebook said earlier this week that it derailed a Mexico-staged young deception campaign that covered topics such as racial injustice, feminism and the environment and included some content previously published by the Russian internet research agency.
Facebook has not linked the campaign to Russia, claiming it has so far only traced control back to unspecified people in Mexico.
Worry about weapons
Amid mounting tensions during a week that another police killed a black man, Walter Wallace Jr., Walmart said Thursday it would remove firearms and ammunition from the floors of its U.S. stores to protect customers and employees.
Some observers saw the move as a sign of concern about the elections. But a day later, Walmart said it had started moving inventory back to the bottom.
“After riots damaged several of our stores earlier this week … we asked stores to remove firearms and ammunition from the retail area,” the company said.
“Since the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have decided to bring these products back on sale today.”
A woman clears up rubble damaged during protests in Philadelphia at a Walmart on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
In June, Walmart withdrew firearms and ammunition from some US stores during nationwide protests against the death of George Floyd by police.
Walmart sells guns and ammunition in roughly half of its U.S. stores, mostly in places where hunting is popular.
In Philadelphia, where Mr. Wallace was killed, District Attorney Larry Krasner has vowed to gun down anyone who tries to intimidate voters.
“The second amendment does not protect people who pose as militia and have not been summoned by a governor,” he told CNN on Friday.
“So if you want to dress up like GI Joe and pretend you’re protecting the polls when we all know you are intimidating voters, you will be locked up.”
According to data from Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, Americans bought a record 16.7 million firearms this year through September 2020.
With Reuters and AFP.
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