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Security bollards are going up at the State House — to protect protestors

The new bollards are on Beacon Street.

The Massachusetts State House. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The Massachusetts State House is getting a noticeable security upgrade — but this one is not to protect public officials.

On Friday, crews were installing bollards out front of the historic building on Beacon Street to provide security to the myriad of people who regularly stand on the building’s steps and sidewalk for protests, demonstrations, press conferences and other public gatherings, CommonWealth magazine reports.

“The installation of these barriers is designed to protect people who gather at the base of the State House front steps (for example, for a rally or press conference) from vehicles traveling on Beacon Street that could potentially jump the curb,” a state official, who asked to not be identified, said in an email to the magazine. “This is part of a larger series of upgrades to the exterior of the building. Similar barriers are already in place along Mt. Vernon and Bowdoin streets.”

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Bollards have become standard security measures for public places, especially government buildings, in the decades since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They serve as a line of defense against any possible car bombers.

As CommonWealth notes, however, the State House is a bit of an outlier, as bollards have not been needed generally because of the building’s positioning atop a hill above street level, surrounded by a fair amount of fencing and walls.

According to the magazine, the new bollards appear to be part of several security enhancements currently underway at the building, which is listed as both a national and a state historic landmark.

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