A capital at a standstill celebrates an inauguration unlike any other

Guarded, silent, and rattled, photos show downtown Washington, D.C. as it experiences a presidential transition unlike any other in recent history.

January 20, 2021: President Joe Biden's motorcade makes its way up 15th Street towards the White House on inaguration day. The 46th president of the United States was sworn in shortly before noon, at a ceremony that was smaller and quieter than previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic and security threats.
Photograph by NINA BERMAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Emptied of people. Emptied of vehicles.

In the days leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden, perimeters of fences, weapons, soldiers, and heavily armed police blocked off chunks of Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Capitol, where the event was to take place. Authorities vowed there would be no threat from the violent mob that breached the building on January 6 trying to stop the certification of November's election.

In recent days, our photographers have covered this eerie quiet in Washington, as governors of other states also deployed their National Guards to defend their Statehouses from attack.

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