US set to swear in Joe Biden as 46th president

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a COVID-19 memorial, with lights placed around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington (AP)

The United States is due to swear in Democrat Joe Biden as its 46th president, who is inheriting a country beset by deep political divides and battered by a coronavirus pandemic.

The inauguration event, scheduled to start after 10:30am local time (15:30 GMT) on Wednesday, will be organised amid unprecedented security in the wake of the storming of the US Capitol building on January 6 by supporters of the outgoing President Donald Trump.

The crowd size will be extremely limited as the capital Washington, DC, has been under lockdown due to security fears prompted by the deadly riot at the Capitol – the seat of the US government.

Trump was impeached for his role in the Capitol mayhem, becoming the first president in US history to be impeached twice. Critics say the outgoing president’s repeated false claims that the November election was stolen triggered the Capitol violence.

Breaking with tradition, Trump will not attend Biden’s swearing-in and the subsequent gathering of all living presidents.


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