Airbnb is blocking all reservations in Washington DC amid fears that armed militias and known hate groups are attempting to travel and disrupt next week’s Inauguration.
It comes as state and federal officials have asked people not to travel to the area during Inauguration week.
The lettings organisation announced it would therefore cancel all current reservations in the Washington DC metro area as well as prevent any new reservations being made.
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Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the DC Metro area for the Inauguration, as reports emerged regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt events.
Meanwhile, the platform has also moved to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community – by investigating suspected participants in the Capitol riots of January 6 and since removing them from the site.
A statement released by Airbnb said: “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.
“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.”
On Monday, the chief executives of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia held a joint call to discuss planning for the 59th Presidential Inauguration – which they agreed must involve virtual participation, rather than people travelling to Washington.
They said: “January 6, 2021 is now a seminal moment in American history. We are grateful for the courageous efforts of every law enforcement officer, Guard member, and first responder who heroically worked to secure the Capitol and ensure our nation’s democracy prevailed.
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“On January 20, there will be a transition of power, and we will work together, and with our partners in the federal government, to ensure the safety of the National Capital Region. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, DC and to instead participate virtually.
“In this very trying time, January 6 was a dark moment for our nation. But we know that we will get through this period because American ideals are stronger than one extreme ideology. Together, we will overcome extremism and get back to the work of our residents.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has called for a stop to violence as the FBI warns of “armed protests” planned for across the United States in the run up to the inauguration.
It comes as Trump was impeached for a second time, accused of “inciting insurrection” following last week’s US Capitol.
Supporters of Mr Trump have vowed an uprising will take place if he is removed from office.
But the president, now calling for peace, released a video declaring: “Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for.
He added: “No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence, no true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag.
“No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans, if you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it and you are attacking our country.”