More than 40,000 police officers, soldiers, snipers and special agents have been employed to guard the inauguration of Barack Obama later today, in one of the biggest security operations of all time.
Some 25,000 law enforcement officers will join 10,000 guards and 7,500 on-duty soldiers in Washington DC to protect the incoming 44th US president. A further 40,000 security troops will be overseen by the US security services, the Times reported.
Police officers will be expected to work 12-hour shifts as they get ready for the first-ever black president to take office. Security chiefs have prepared for a range of assassination attempt scenarios, including shootings and a terrorist attack.
But despite the security challenges posed by Obama being sworn in, the president-to-be remained clear about his toughest challenge ahead. At an inauguration ceremony last night, Obama, who was recently voted the world’s most powerful leader, said: “Our nation is at war, our economy is in crisis. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. I won’t pretend that meeting any one of these challenges will be easy.
“It will take more than a month or a year, and it will likely take many. Along the way there will be setbacks and false starts and days that test our resolve as a nation.”
Official figures released last month showed that 7.2% of Americans were unemployed, the highest level in more than a decade.