America is bracing for chaos.
As the most powerful country in the world heads into what is shaping up to be the messiest, most contested election in its history, no one really knows what will happen.
But one thing appears certain – there will be violence.
With the November 3 election just days away, huge swathes of shopfronts in downtown Washington, Chicago and New York have been boarded up with plywood, as long-suffering store owners prepare for the worst.
“I’m usually a very positive person – I hope for the best,” Washington DC salon owner Alex Provenzano, whose store is one block north of the White House, told USA Today last week. “But the people are very stressed out, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the country right now. It’s pretty scary.”
Mr Provenzano said his entire street was vandalised during Black Lives Matter riots in May after the death of George Floyd, and his store only removed the plywood in July – now it’s going back up.
The damage bill from the rioting, looting and arson in the months after the May 25 death of Mr Floyd has already been estimated at up to $US2 billion, Axios reported last month.
More than 30 people died in the violent riots, which researchers said accounted for just 7 per cent of the “overwhelmingly peaceful” protests around the country.
In recent days there has been a fresh outbreak of Black Lives Matter rioting in Philadelphia, just to the north of Washington, where thousands of looters spent several nights ransacking large parts of the city after the fatal police shooting of a knife-wielding black man.
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