Trumps 4 July tanks prompt dont panic warning

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48856990

A worker washes one of two M1A1 Abrams tanks that are loaded on rail cars at a rail yard on 2 July in Washington, DCImage copyright
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Tanks are prepared for Mr Trump’s 4 July military parade

The US military has told Washington DC residents not to panic if they see tanks on the streets for President Donald Trump’s Independence Day parade.

At least two Bradley armoured carriers and two M1A1 Abrams Tanks will be moved to the heart of the US capital for the president’s “Salute to America”.

The National Park Service will reportedly divert nearly $2.5m (£2m) to cover the cost of the event.

Mr Trump tweeted his 4 July celebration will be “the show of a lifetime.”

As well as tanks, the event will feature a military jet flyover, an extended fireworks show and speech by the president at the Lincoln Memorial.

Army Col Sunset Belinsky told a local CBS News affiliate: “Residents of the Capitol City will see the vehicles move through their neighbourhoods, but should not panic.”

The tanks were moved from a railyard in south-eastern Washington DC on Tuesday evening.

Col Belinsky did not disclose where the tanks would be displayed on the National Mall in the city centre.

Image copyright
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

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The president and first lady at last year’s 4 July celebration

Mr Trump’s Independence Day plans have divided opinion.

Critics of the president see it as an inappropriately partisan display and a misuse of public funds.

The National Park Service is diverting a portion of entrance and recreation fees intended to improve parks across the US in order to foot the bill for the parade, reports the Washington Post.

In previous years, the 4 July celebration on the National Mall has typically cost the agency about $2m, according to the newspaper.

The diverted funds are just a small fraction of the National Park Service’s $2bn plus budget.

But the agency complained in March that it is facing almost $12bn in backlogged maintenance and repair needs – exacerbated by the US government shutdown at the beginning of this year.

On Monday, the National Park Service issued a permit to feminist group Code Pink, allowing them to display an inflatable balloon depicting Mr Trump as a baby on a section of the National Mall on 4 July to protest against the “militarisation” of the US holiday.

“We requested a space on the large, empty expanse at the base of the Washington Monument that would not have obstructed anyone’s view but would have allowed the president to see the baby,” said the group in a statement.

But organisers were denied permission to use helium for the balloon to make it airborne.

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