For the first time in years, visitors strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington can now walk right up to the White House fence, after the Biden administration removed metal barriers and a security presence preventing access.
On Sunday, as the country commemorated its independence day, tourists were seen walking up to the landmark on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Some danced the salsa as music played in the previously barricaded area.
“It is great,” said Eddie, who is visiting with his family from New Jersey.
“The less paranoid our government is about the people, the better,” he told The National.
Shannon, who lives in nearby Virginia, said she came down to Pennsylvania Avenue after reading the news that the barriers have been removed.
“We visit regularly because this is the people’s house, and it certainly feels nicer not to be behind the barriers again,” she said.
It is a noticeable change after years of that access being blocked during Donald Trump’s time in the White House.
After a breach to the fence in 2017, the secret service and security agencies erected new barriers, and raised the height of the fence itself to prevent future intrusions.
People also celebrated the milestone on social media.
Only days earlier, all of the remaining fencing that surrounded Lafayette Square, the park across from the White House, was removed. It was barricaded during the George Floyd protests last year.
The park itself opened to visitors for the first time in May, after a year of being part of a security parameter around the White House.
During the Trump presidency, the area around the park became a symbol of the movement for racial justice in the United States, following protests, clashes with security and leading up to renaming one of its streets as “Black Lives Matter Plaza”.
The last fence remaining around the Capitol from the Trump era is expected to be cleared as soon as next week, AP reported.
Those barricades were erected after the Capitol riots on January 6, in which supporters of the former president violently stormed the building.
But for some visitors, the momentous moment passed by. Marcus, from California, was visiting Washington for the first time.
“I had no idea there were barriers, but I feel great to be here,” he said.