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Scenes from the <del>Mall</del> tunnel

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Of the many reports surfacing of would-be inaugural spectators denied entrance to the National Mall, this one definitely takes the cake: A nightmarish scene inside what is being called the Purple Tunnel of Doom.

Writing on ForeignPolicy.com, Marc Lynch has the sad tale:

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I went to the show with a few friends who received excellent Purple tickets as a reward for untold hours volunteering as foreign policy advisers for the Obama campaign. We got down to the security checkpoint for the Purple section bright and early (I left home at 4 AM), and were guided into a long tunnel which had been closed to traffic. We waited in line for nearly four hours, in a claustrophobic tunnel with no porta-potties, no food or drink, and not a single official or volunteer in sight. Finally, we got within sight of the Purple Gate -- only to find that it had been closed. Thousands of people in front of us hadn’t gotten in (not that anyone bothered to tell the people languishing in the tunnel that the gate had been closed, mind you). Thousands of purple ticket holders were behind us. It’s remarkable that there wasn’t a riot. I rode the metro home with a lot of people who had been turned away, including an elderly African-American woman muttering over and over to herself that it had been one of the worst experiences of her life.

There’s even a Facebook page: Survivors of the Purple Tunnel of Doom.

More details on Talking Points Memo.

Flickr photos here.

--Christopher Hawthorne


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