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Obama inauguration security

January 16, 2009
2-inch glass surrounds Obama at his victory celebrations
2-inch glass surrounds Obama at his victory celebrations (Associated Press)

One of the things, I an my co-authors wrote a lot about in our new book is the increasing prevalence of  ‘island security’, the creation of temporary zones of exception around mega-events like the Olympics of the G-8 summits, or even smaller events like political party conferences. It looks like the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the USA will be one of the biggest ever  island security operations, which a 3.5km exlcusion area, no-fly zone and thousands of police and military personnel on duty.

When it comes to many of these kinds of events, the security is often symbolic, or what we called ‘stage-set security’, but, rather like the new official presidential limousine (AKA ‘The Beast’), the security involved here is hardly likely to be quite so superficial. Nor, I think, do many of the usual advance objections to heavy-handed policing apply: I don’t think there has been a US president in recent history who has either sparked so much hope by so many in the USA or been quite so likely to be targeted for assassination by a few.

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