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Monday, January 18, 2021

Airbnb takes unprecedented step to stave off possibility of inauguration violence

It’s a sign of the times.

Airbnb has canceled all reservations in the Washington, D.C., metro area ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, a move that is meant to prevent the possibility of a repeat of the violence that visited the nation’s capital last week.

“Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are announcing that Airbnb will cancel reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the Inauguration week,” the home-sharing website announced Wednesday. “Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations.”

The canceled reservations will be refunded in full. Likewise, Airbnb hosts will be fully reimbursed for the cash lost by the surprise cancellations.

“Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week,” the group’s statement says. “In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration. Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Capitol is swarming at this very moment with hundreds of National Guard troops. In fact, according to CNN’s Barbara Starr, an incredible 20,000 National Guard troops are expected to be in the nation’s capital by Jan. 20. That will be more than 3 times the current troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria combined.

“We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community,” reads the group’s announcement. “As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb.”

It concludes, “Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.”

A violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building last week after President Trump directed them personally to march on the People’s House during a joint session of Congress to protest the results of the 2020 election.

“We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said. “We’re going to the Capitol, and we’re going to try and give … our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

“And we fight,” he added. “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

At least five people died in the ensuing riot, which the president egged on in real time and then praised afterward.

The FBI says now that it has reason to believe there may be armed protests planned for all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the run-up to Biden’s inauguration.



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