Headed to the Obama inauguration?


Here are some things you should know.

No strollers near the Capitol. No tents on the National Mall. None of that Silly String on the parade route….The tightest rules are reserved for the lucky 240,000 ticket-holders, who get to sit closest to the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol. There are understandable prohibitions on weapons and pepper spray. But you also can’t carry an umbrella. And don’t think about holding up any “Yes We Did” signs – posters also are not allowed.

It could get tricky as people congregate along the parade route, where many items allowed on the Mall will be off-limits. That list includes bicycles, backpacks, aerosols (which could include Silly String), coolers, thermal containers and chairs.

Signs or placards can be brought to the parade – but only if they’re made of cardboard, poster board or cloth and are not more than 3 feet by 20 feet.

….some people are worried about packed Metro trains now that officials are sounding warnings. Metro has said its bathrooms will be closed for security.

The rules aren’t so strict on the National Mall, where most people will end up because tickets aren’t required. Officials have said everyone will be checked, but they haven’t said what that will entail.

People won’t be able to see much, except what’s on Jumbotrons, but they can bring all sorts of stuff. Besides the obvious no-nos – firearms, explosives, fireworks – the only bans are on alcohol, tents and glass bottles.

“The more you bring, the more difficult it’s going to make your movement,” said Sgt. Robert LaChance, a spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, which patrols the Mall.

Authorities say expect to go through some type of security screening. If you have an item prohibited for a certain area, they will confiscate it. When asked if specific items such as canes, walkers, lighters, matches and diaper bags would be prohibited from the parade route and the Capitol, authorities said they didn’t know yet.

So if what you plan to take or do during the inauguration isn’t clear you’d better ask somebody!

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