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Saturday, 9 January 2021

Washington DC airports beef up security as pro-Trump rioters return home amid demands for anyone who stormed the Capitol to be added to the federal no-fly list

 US airlines and law enforcement agencies have bolstered security at the two big Washington-area airports as supporters of President Trump return home following Wednesday's riots, as a top lawmaker urged authorities to ban anyone who invaded the Capitol from flying.

The beefed-up security at Dulles International and Reagan National airports comes amid outrage at the mob of MAGA protesters who smashed their way into the seat of American democracy.

A Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman said passengers can expect to see an increased law enforcement presence as they travel through airports. 

United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines said they were working closely with law enforcement agencies to keep people safe and would continue enforcing strict mask policies on flights.

United and American also increased staffing at the area’s airports and earlier this week moved their crews away from downtown DC hotels.

Southwest Airlines said it was monitoring events and expected customers to adhere to applicable laws, federal air regulations and crew member instructions while traveling.

It came as the Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson, demanded that any rioters who were identified as having entered the Capitol building be banned from future flights.

A Trump supporter is seen above walking through a terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday

A Trump supporter is seen above walking through a terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday

US domestic airlines said they are increasing security in the DC airports after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building on Wednesday

Homeland Security police patrol at Washington's Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, in this November 24, 2020, file photo. Security has been beefed up at the two major Washington, DC-area airports

Homeland Security police patrol at Washington's Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, in this November 24, 2020, file photo. Security has been beefed up at the two major Washington, DC-area airports 

‘We already saw reports of “unruly mobs” in air on the way to Washington, DC,’ Thompson said in a statement.

‘It does not take much imagination to envision how they might act out on their way out of DC if allowed to fly unfettered.’

He urged the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to add the rioters to the federal no-fly list.

The ‘no-fly’ list is a database managed by the Terrorist Screening Center which contains the names of people who are not allowed to board commercial aircraft for travel within, into, or out of the United States.

The list was created in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.

Civil libertarians have criticized the use of the list, saying that the names of those added were done without due process.

In October 2019, a federal appellate court upheld the largely secret criteria that the government uses for adding suspected terrorists to the list after four people filed suit.

(AFA) International President Sara Nelson issued a statement calling the 'mob mentality' that occurred on several flights to D.C. 'unacceptable'

(AFA) International President Sara Nelson issued a statement calling the 'mob mentality' that occurred on several flights to D.C. 'unacceptable'

The federal government has largely kept secret the number of people on the list, though in 2014, it was learned that at least 47,000 names were on it. 

A prominent union leader has also called for the Trump supporters to be barred from commercial flights out of the region.

‘Acts against our democracy, our government and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight,’ Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) representing workers at 17 airlines, said in a statement late on Wednesday. 

American Airlines on Thursday announced that it will no longer serve alcohol on flights to and from the nation's capital after flight attendants 'were forced to confront passengers exhibiting politically motivated aggression towards other passengers and crew.' 

'We are working closely with local law enforcement and airport authority partners to ensure the safety of our customers and team members on the ground and in the air,' the airline's statement said, CNN reports. 


No specific incident was highlighted by the American Airlines as having been the reason for the move. 

Some flight attendants have expressed concern that protesters would spread COVID-19.

The TSA, which has authority over US travel security, said late Wednesday it had multiple layers of security in place without providing details.

Trump supporters on Wednesday stormed the barricades surrounding the US Capitol campus and entered the congressional building, sending frightened members of Congress to underground bunkers. 

Moment protesters first broke through Capitol Hill barricades
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Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. Three others suffered medical emergencies during the riots and one Trump supporters was fatally shot while trying to break into the House Chamber. 

Most of those who stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday have yet to be arrested and federal law enforcement officials are seeking the public's help in identifying the suspects. 

As of Thursday night, 82 people were arrested in connection with the storming of the US Capitol, with 60 of them booked for violating DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's 6pm curfew.

Another 37 have been arrested on suspicion of unlawful entry. 

WANTED: Federal and local authorities are trying to track down at least 36 suspects - in addition to the 68 already arrested - who stormed the US Capitol building, defaced property, fired tear gas and trashed officers on Wednesday in chaotic scenes

WANTED: Federal and local authorities are trying to track down at least 36 suspects - in addition to the 68 already arrested - who stormed the US Capitol building, defaced property, fired tear gas and trashed officers on Wednesday in chaotic scenes

Police on Thursday released photos of members of the violent Trump mob wanted on federal charges after storming the US Capitol building

Police on Thursday released photos of members of the violent Trump mob wanted on federal charges after storming the US Capitol building

Dozens of Trump loyalists were photographed breaking windows, entering both the Senate and House chambers and going into the offices of lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday

Dozens of Trump loyalists were photographed breaking windows, entering both the Senate and House chambers and going into the offices of lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday 

The FBI is now working with various law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators and charge people with federal crimes

The FBI is now working with various law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators and charge people with federal crimes

Others were charged with assault, property damage and an assortment of gun charges, according to the Los Angeles Times

Many were charged with more than one offense. 

Police say they are now in the process of tracking down at least 36 suspects - in addition to the 82 already arrested - who scaled the Senate and House Chambers, vandalized statues, fired tear gas and defaced property on Wednesday in chaotic scenes. 

Earlier this week, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah was heckled and taunted by Trump supporters while on a flight from Salt Lake City to Washington, DC, ahead of the 'Save America' rally.

During his remarks to the supporters outside the White House, the president mocked Romney, sarcastically wondering if he 'enjoyed his flight.'  

Viral video showed Romney being heckled by pro-Trump passengers aboard the flight.

'Let him know what we think,' a woman screams before a group of Trump supporters with their masks pulled down chant 'traitor' and 'traitor Mitt' from their seats.

Romney is believed to be sitting further ahead in the plane, but he cannot be seen as the Trump fans record the incident.

The move is one of several new 'precautionary' measures taken by the airline and comes after videos showed various flights where Trump supporters heckled Senator Mitt Romney on his flight to DC

The move is one of several new 'precautionary' measures taken by the airline and comes after videos showed various flights where Trump supporters heckled Senator Mitt Romney on his flight to DC

Passengers yell at Mitt Romney on flight heading to DC
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During a flight on Tuesday to D.C., Romney was heckled by Trump supporters
'Let him know what we think,' a woman screams before a group of Trump supporters with their masks pulled down chant 'traitor' and 'traitor Mitt' from their seats

During a flight on Tuesday to D.C., Romney was heckled by Trump supporters. 'Let him know what we think,' a woman screams before a group of Trump supporters with their masks pulled down chant 'traitor' and 'traitor Mitt' from their seats. Romney is believed to be sitting further ahead in the plane, but he cannot be seen as the Trump fans record the incident.

It is not known if the same woman who approached him in the airport was on the flight.

'Resign Mitt. We want to know your connection to Burisma and Joe Biden, Mitt Romney,' one woman shouts.

The senator was defended by another woman who shouted: 'We love you Mitt Romney you're great, you're doing awesome. I'm one of your constituents and I think you're doing wonderful.'

'You're one of maybe a million who think opposite of you,' a Trump fan tells her.

One woman later tweeted about the incident alleging: 'Flew into DC with coward @MittRomney hiding with two masks, glasses and a bubble helmet. Don't worry- we let him know what we thought about him #TRAITOR.'

In response to the heckling, Romney told reporters Wednesday: 'That's something I've gotten used to over the years. That's the nature of politics today. 

Another video shared on Wednesday showed more Trump supporters traveling on a plane from Texas to Washington, DC.

In the new footage, flight attendants struggle to control the plane full of pro-Trump passengers. At one point in the video, someone on the plane displays a 'Trump 2020' projection before the lights in the cockpit are turned on.

In a second video shared on Tuesday, a woman who says she is a Republican Utah voter, approaches 73-year-old Senator Mitt Romney as he waits by the gate for his flight in Salt Lake City. She demands to know why Romney is not supporting Trump

In a second video shared on Tuesday, a woman who says she is a Republican Utah voter, approaches 73-year-old Senator Mitt Romney as he waits by the gate for his flight in Salt Lake City. She demands to know why Romney is not supporting Trump

Romney eventually tries to walk away as the woman continuously questions him

Romney eventually tries to walk away as the woman continuously questions him

Trump supporters confront Romney inside Salt Lake City airport
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Meanwhile, people are heard yelling at each other, with one saying: 'Shut the hell up!'

Others are heard claiming that someone on the flight 'threatened' them but it's unclear what happened. 

In a second video shared on Tuesday, a woman who says she is a Republican Utah voter, approaches 73-year-old Romney as he waits by the gate for his flight.

She demands to know why Romney is not supporting Trump with the president's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud. 

He immediately asks her to put her mask on as it is required by law in the airport.

'Don't tell me what to do,' she answers back. 'I'm standing six feet away. You know what I'm going to go ahead and do it because I want to have a chat with you.'

'Why aren't you supporting President Trump? You're not supporting him,' the woman continues.

'I do support President Trump. I'm sorry, I do agree with many of the things he's for and I support him, Romney answers. 

The woman remains unhappy, however, and continues to push Romney on whether he will be supporting Trump regarding 'fraudulent votes'.

'No, I'm not,' the senator answers. 'It's a long story but it's a constitutional process and the constitution is clear. I will follow the constitution and I will explain all that when we meet in congress this week.'

Another video shared on Wednesday showed more Trump supporters traveling on a plane from Texas to Washington, DC.  Images from the plane shows a 'Trump 2020' projection in the cockpit

Another video shared on Wednesday showed more Trump supporters traveling on a plane from Texas to Washington, DC.  Images from the plane shows a 'Trump 2020' projection in the cockpit 

She continues to push Romney about not supporting Trump in the election and tells him: 'You were voted in as a conservative to represent the conservative constituents. Period.'

'Actually, that's not how the constitution works,' Romney fires back as he begins to pack up his laptop to try and walk away.

'It is you're voted in to represent us, you work for us. Am I wrong?' the woman then questions.

'I work for the people of Utah,' Romney says, to which she responds, 'Exactly and I am from Utah. There's a lot of people who didn't vote for you.'

'I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't even voted in legally,' the woman adds. 'You're a joke, an absolute joke, it's a disgusting shame.'       

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