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Police Arrest 13 at Capitol Ahead of SOTU

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Police arrested 13 protesters on the East Steps of the Capitol Tuesday, ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.  

All 13 were charged under the District's law prohibiting obstruction of public or private buildings, Capitol Police's Kimberly Schneider said. The misdemeanor violation carries a fine of $500, a penalty of 90 days in jail or both, according to the city's code. Protesters remained quiet as they were arrested then loaded into two Capitol Police vans and taken to headquarters just after 3:30 p.m. About a dozen Capitol Police officers created a barricade around the vans.  

It was not immediately known what the protesters were demonstrating about.  

Capitol Police have been posted around the parameters of the Hill as officers aim to beef up security ahead of the president’s address to Congress, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m.  

Police recently installed full-body scanners for people entering the Capitol Visitor Center but would not say if that was in relations to the State of the Union or if the machines would be a long term fixture.  

Roads leading into and out of Capitol will be closed starting at 7 p.m.  

Contact Rahman at remarahman@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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