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Protective wood boards are placed on the front of the McPherson Building on October 28, 2020 near the White House in Washington, DC.

Washington DC is bracing itself ahead of the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday. 
Three people who live in the capital told Business Insider that while Washington is still pretty quiet, there’s a “tension in the air” and an atmosphere of “uncertainty” as more people fear post-election violence.
Some businesses in the capital have started boarding up, while law enforcement officials are planning for confrontation as several groups have already applied for demonstration permits.
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Two days before the US election, Washington DC is holding its breath.

The nation’s capital is no stranger to seeing demonstrations unfold on its streets, but this time around, the uncertainty and anticipation surrounding the 2020 election outcome feels different.

“It feels like the calm before the storm,” Taylor Rea, a 27-year-old consultant who lives in Washington, told Business Insider.

“I am just nervous about the results of the election … there’s a lot of uncertainty of what’s going to happen regardless of who wins” she added.

Rea, who lives in a neighborhood close to the White House, told Business Insider that while she doesn’t fear for her safety, she has a backup option if the aftermath of the election does become violent.

“Thankfully, my parents and boyfriend live nearby and both have cars, so I do have the option of leaving if I feel like I need to,” she said.

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Protective wood paneling is installed at a CVS pharmacy as businesses near the White House for secure stores as worries about election unrest mount in Washington DC, on October 29, 2020.

According to a recent YouGov poll, 74% of Americans think there will be violence following the results of the 2020 presidential election, half (53%) of which say there will be a lot of violence, while 21% say they expect a little.

But while the fear seems to be there, the city looks relatively calm from the outside.

Pictures of Washinton DC on social media on Friday showed becalmed streets, police officers setting up concrete barriers in front of Lafayette Square, and some business owners boarding up their shops out of precaution.

“There is definitely some tension in the air. Downtown shops are boarding up again, which they did before when some of the BLM protests in early summer turned a bit violent,” Laura Garcia, 24, who also lives in Washington DC, told Business Insider.

Garcia, who was living in DC during the 2016 election, says she has noticed a shift among her social circles regarding people’s involvement in politics.

“I do feel like people, in general, are a lot more passionate about politics than they were four years ago, which is a good thing,” Garcia said.

“I just kind of want to get it done and over with,” she added.

The city is preparing itself in the run-up to the election 

Police announced this week that street closures and parking restrictions will cover much of downtown in the days to come.

George Washington University has sent students a message recommending they stockpile a week’s worth of food and supplies to prepare for Election Day, according to the Washington Post.

City officials have advised shop owners to sign up for crime alerts in their area and to keep their insurance information on hand.

The CEO of ServiceChannel — a company that connects national retail chains to local contractors that protect and repair stores and the assets inside them — told Business Insider on Friday that the firm has seen an influx of requests for preventive board-ups and enhanced security measures.

“What [the retailers] determined is that regardless of who wins, there’s likely to be some turmoil around the election,” CEO Tom Buiocchi told Business Insider. “That turmoil has manifested itself, at least this year, in social unrest and protests, so they decided they need to get in front of it and protect their key locations.”

Washington DC sees an increasing police presence

But it’s not just businesses that are preparing themselves for possible unrest.

According to NBC News sources, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been told for the first time by the Department of Homeland Security to remain on standby to protect federal property in the capital, on or after Election Day.

 

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Protest against the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd outside White House in Washington

“It is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins,” DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told lawmakers earlier this month, according to the Post. 

“It is also believed that there is a strong chance of unrest when Washington, DC, hosts the inauguration in January,” Newsham added.

While law enforcement officials say there have been no specific threats, they have said that several groups have applied for demonstration permits in the city starting Sunday and for days after the election. 

‘Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat’

According to Viana Ferguson, a former Facebook content moderator who spoke at the Real Facebook Oversight event last week, users have become more vocal about the “violence they are willing to execute” toward people in the previous few months.

“We’ve applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts, and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios,” a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider.

Other organizations are also keeping a close eye on any groups that could incite violence. 

“Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat to the safety and security of American voters,” the nonprofit organization Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project told the Washington Post.

In a recent report published by the organization, researchers tracked more than 80 extremist groups in recent months. They said that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon “are at highest risk of increased militia activity in the election and post-election period.”

In Portland, Oregon, the scene of months of violent protests, right-wing armed group plans to show up at ballot drop-off sites on Tuesday with weapons in plain view. Left-wing organizers are preparing to be there as well.

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A counter-protester raises his hands in front of a far right militia as various militia groups stage rallies in downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia, U.S. August 15, 2020.

“There have been demonstrations on the streets for so many months now, and all over the country, so there is no doubt in my mind that think there will be some sort of protests,” Joshua Blatt, a 27-year old graduate student, told Business Insider.

“The very fact that we’re talking about the potential of any sort of violence, shows the massive changes that have occurred in the last few years. Nobody is laughing off the possibility anymore, which is worrying,” he said.

Read more:7 secrets about Washington, DC landmarks you probably didn’t knowBiden has surrounded himself with political-crisis experts from the Clinton and Obama years to swat off scandals. So far, it’s working.15 rooms in the White House you probably never knew existed, from a chocolate shop to a private bowling alleyThe White House listed ‘ending the COVID-19 pandemic’ as one of Trump’s achievements, despite record number of infectionsRead the original article on Business Insider

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COVID-19 and Global Poverty
Since early 2020, the entire globe has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic and attempting to address the outbreak properly. Most of the world’s population is currently under some form of social distancing as a part of a response to the outbreak. From scientific research to increased travel restrictions, almost every country is working on ways to boost the economy while managing the spread of the virus. However, COVID-19 has affected much more than the economy. Here are four ways COVID-19 and global poverty connect:

4 Ways COVID-19 and Global Poverty Connect

The Consumption of Goods and Services: For most developing countries struggling with poverty, much of their economies depend on commodities, such as exports. Food consumption represents the largest portion of household spending, and the increase in food prices and shortages of products affect low-income households. Countries that depend on imported food experience shortages. The increase in food prices could also affect the households’ inability to access other services such as healthcare, a major necessity during this time. These are two significant connections between COVID-19 and global poverty.
Employment and Income: The self-employed or those working for small businesses represent a large portion of the employed in developing countries. Some of these workers depend on imported materials, farming lands or agriculture. This requires harvest workers and access to local farmers’ markets to sell produce. Others work in the fields of tourism and retail. These fields require travelers, tourists and consumers — all of which lessen as COVID-19 restrictions increase. Without this labor income, many of these families (now unemployed) must rely on savings or government payments.
Weak Healthcare Systems: This pandemic poses a major threat to lower-middle-income developing countries. There is a strong correlation between healthcare and economic growth. The better and bigger the economy, the better the healthcare. Healthcare systems in developing countries tend to be weaker due to minimal resources including beds, ventilators, medicine and a below-average economy. Insurance is not always available for low-income families. All of this affects the quality of healthcare that those living within the poverty line receive. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Services: Low-income families and poor populations in developing countries depend on public services, such as school and public transportation. Some privatized urban schools, comprised of mainly higher-income families, are switching to online learning. However, many of the public rural schools receiving government funding do not have adequate resources to follow suit. This could increase the rate of drop out. Moreover, it will disproportionately affect poorer families since many consider education an essential incentive for escaping poverty. Aside from school, COVID-19 restrictions could prevent poorer families from accessing public transportation. For developing countries, public transportation could affect the ability of poorer families to access healthcare.

Moving Forward

There are many challenges that families across the globe face as a result of COVID-19. Notably, some organizations have stepped forward to help alleviate circumstances. The World Bank, Care International and the U.N. are among the organizations implementing programs and policies to directly target the four effects of COVID-19 mentioned above.

For example, the World Bank is continuously launching emergency support around the world to address the needs of various countries in response to COVID-19. By offering these financial packages, countries like Ethiopia, which should receive more than $82 million, can obtain essential medical equipment and support for establishing proper healthcare and treatment facilities. These financial packages constitute a total of $160 million over the next 15 months as a part of projects implemented in various countries, such as Mongolia, Kyrgyz Republic, Haiti, Yemen, Afghanistan and India.

– Nada Abuasi
Photo: Flickr

The post 4 Ways COVID-19 And Global Poverty Connect appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Original Source: borgenproject.org

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