United States (US) President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris yesterday took their oath of office at a lavish ceremony at the Capitol Building in Washington DC.
Security was tight at the Capitol Building amid concerns that some supporters loyal to former president Donald Trump would stage armed protests in a style reminiscent of the January 6 riots at the US House of Congress.
Twenty-five thousand national guard officers were deployed to cordon off the site despite the absence of party supporters, according to CNN.
Spectators were not allowed to comply with restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Reuters reports that bridges between Virginia and downtown Washington had been closed, as well downtown Metro stations were reportedly closed to ensure that the inauguration occurred without incident.
Lady Gaga set off the lavish ceremony with the American national anthem. Harris, who became the first woman vice- president in the US, was the first to take her oath.
She was followed by Biden with a performance from pop icon Jennifer Lopez sandwiched between the two oaths.
In his inauguration speech monitored on CNN, Biden said his electoral victory was a “triumph for the cause of democracy”, considering that the will of the people has been “heard” and “heeded” amid heightened political divisions.
He has since pledged to be a President for all Americans to unite the country and lead it out of the “struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonisation have long torn us apart”.
Said Biden: “To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it.
“That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps this nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly. Disagreement must not lead to disunion.”
Former presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George Bush attended the event. Conspicuously missing was immediate former president Donald Trump who left the White House earlier yesterday.
Before leaving the White House, Trump wished the incoming “great success” and promised his supporters that he “would be back in some form”.
He was quoted by Bloomberg as having said: “I will always fight for you. I will be watching, I will be listening, and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better. I wish the new administration great luck, great success.”