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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 14 August, 2020
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White House goes into lockdown after a man wearing a USA flag hops the fence

It’s not the first time it’s happened in recent times.

Source: CNN/YouTube

A MAN HAS been arrested after jumping the fence at the White House as the first family were inside celebrating Thanksgiving.

CNN reports that the man was wrapped in an American flag and jumped over two barriers before he was apprehended.

It’s the latests in a series of incidents of people gaining unauthorised access to White House grounds.

Today’s incident comes soon after the main fence was reinforced with seven inch steel spikes to guard against such fence hopping.

The White House was put on lockdown for a period but the incident is now understood to be over.

Earlier today, US President Barack Obama used his Thanksgiving message to urge Americans to open their hearts to refugees.

In his message, Obama likened refugees to the pilgrims the holiday celebrates.

“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims — men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said in his weekly address, referring to the boat on which the first pilgrims reached the New World.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the group who fled religious persecution in England. For many Americans, it has become a family-oriented holiday marked with an enormous meal of roast turkey and a slice or two of pie.

“I’ve been touched by the generosity of the Americans who’ve written me letters and emails in recent weeks, offering to open their homes to refugees fleeing the brutality of ISIL,” Obama said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

The refugee question has taken centre stage in the 2016 presidential race, following the Paris attacks staged by Syria-linked jihadists this month.

Source: The White House/YouTube

The shootings and suicide bombings stirred fears in North America and Europe that jihadists could seek to blend in with refugees in order to strike later.

Obama faces a barrage of opposition to his own plan to resettle Syrian 10,000 refugees in the United States in the coming year.

“People should remember that no refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States,” Obama said.

“That was the case before Paris, and it’s the case now.”

“On this uniquely American holiday, we also remember that so much of our greatness comes from our generosity,” he said.

- With reporting from © – AFP 2015

Read: Even his most conservative rivals are lining up to hammer Trump over his latest proposal >

Read: 9 things we learned from Barack Obama’s interview with GQ >

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Rónán Duffy

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