The Obama train has rolled in to Washington, three days before his inauguration as US president.
The President-elect took a vintage train car to make the journey from Philadelphia to the capital, emulating the trip made by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. He stopped off in the state of Delaware to pick up soon-to-be Vice President Joe Biden, who has been making the same train ride for years on his commute to the Senate. But Biden’s trains would not usually have slowed down to greet the crowds, or stop to hold rallies on the way to the White House. Also on board the train was Obama’s family: his wife, Michelle, celebrating her 45th birthday, and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia. The 225km trip has kick-started three days of parties and concerts, before Obama’s swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. 240,000 people will watch Obama take the presidential oath on Capitol Hill, while a million people will line Pennsylvania Avenue for a parade, as the first African American president moves in to number 1600. However, Obama has been at pains to stress that tough times lie ahead for the United States, with the economy and the two wars America is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a protest staged in Rome by the peace group Amnesty International served as a reminder to Obama that he has vowed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre – one of the most controversial aspects of his predecessor’s administration.