The process of removing some of the fencing surrounding White House grounds began Wednesday morning.
Crews began removing concrete barriers behind the metal fencing on 15th Street early in the day. By the 9 o’clock hour, the barrier transfer machine had rounded the corner, lifting barriers on Constitution Avenue.
While fencing around the Ellipse is expected to be removed throughout the day, other areas of fencing along the 1.75 miles around the White House complex are expected to stay intact for the immediate future.
“The temporary fencing on the south side of the White House complex, to include the Ellipse, will be removed on or about June 10,” a US Secret Service spokesperson said Tuesday, adding, “The Secret Service is in continuing discussions with the US Park Police regarding the temporary security fencing in and around Lafayette Park.”
Fencing on H Street, near Lafayette Park and where protesters were forcibly removed from St. John’s Episcopal Church ahead of a presidential photo opportunity, remains up at this time, and the park is closed to pedestrians.
That fencing went up late last Monday evening after Trump’s photo opportunity, with the additional Ellipse fencing added later in the week.
Since then, it’s become a gathering place for protesters, signage, street art, and protest messages in bright colors in direct contrast to the metal fencing.
As CNN’s Kristin Wilson reported, activists and residents from the DC area gathered in the overnight hours and began removing signage from the fencing outside Lafayette Park, and moving it to the scaffolding at a construction zone across the street.
Cleanup efforts were also underway after much property damage to the area as some protests became violent. Teams were seen on scaffolding with flame torches around some of the metal and stone sculptures in Lafayette Park. And on 15th Street, where the side of the US Treasury Building was vandalized, two men in masks, helmets, and neon uniforms worked to clean graffiti off the building.
Fencing at the intersection of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue remained intact, with a small opening for staff and press.
On that fence, yellow caution tape, reading, “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS.” It was not immediately clear whether the tape was official – or a sign of protest.