Thousands miss inauguration because of ‘miscommunication’

Thousands wait along Independence Avenue at 10:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
The crowd walks under the overpass at 9th Street along Independence Avenue while missing the inauguration just a few blocks away. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
The crowd finally breaks out of the barricades at 12th Street and makes its way to 15th Street where it can access the grounds of the Washington Monument. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
The long stand at 8th Street and Independence Ave. just before the inauguration was set to begin. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

Megan Cloherty,

WASHINGTON – Thousands of people without tickets to the inauguration missed the whole thing, stuck behind police barricades on Independence Avenue during the ceremony without the ability to see or hear it. And police have no answer as to why they were stuck there.

“I’m not sure why that happened,” says Sgt. Paul Brooks with the National Park Police. He says there was no security reason for that number of people to be held back along Independence Ave.

“It seemed to be some confusion between Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department,” Brooks says.

This specific crowd followed the signs directing those without tickets which led them down 7th Street to Independence Avenue. As the more than 4,000 people rushed to get to their destination with the inauguration starting within the hour, they came to a full stop, backing up onto each other.

At the front of the two-lane-wide, seven-block-long line sat two cement road blocks. The blocks forced the crowd to file past it like an hour glass, only one person getting through at a time.

“It was exciting to be in the middle of everything, but it seemed liked the security didn’t really know what was going on,” says Lindsay Haake from Newport News, Va., who was in the crowd with her husband.

“The signs were confusing for people who didn’t have tickets and we were never able to locate the spot [where] we needed to be,” Haake says.

By the time the majority of the crowd made it through the barricades and out in front of the Washington Monument, the ceremony was over.

Some caught in the crowd sounded off on Twitter the next day.

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