400 DC National Guard Members Activated, on Standby to Protect Monuments – NBC4 Washington

24June 2020

Four hundred members of the D.C. National Guard are on standby in the capital, prepared to secure monoliths if demonstrators target them again.

The members were sent to the DC Armory and none had actually been sent out to monoliths, stated LTC Chris Mitchell, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, said early Wednesday afternoon.

Protesters have actually required the removal of two statues on federal land in D.C.: among Andrew Jackson near the White House and another of Abraham Lincoln in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Monday night, a group of protesters had vandalized a statue of previous President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square outside the White House. Some scaled the statue, connected ropes around it and relocated to pull it down.

U.S. Park Police officers with batons and protective guards pushed the crowd back. The officers utilized pepper spray, the National Park Service verified.

Protesters and Police Clash Over Andrew Jackson Statue Near White House

The National Guard soldiers activated this week will not be armed, however will work as “uniformed deterrence” in assistance U.S. Park Police in protecting any crucial monuments to avoid any defacing or destruction, Mitchell stated.

According to the Pentagon, the Guard's function is to help preserve street and park closures and handle any crowds.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy authorized the deployment, Mitchell said.

Considering that protests against authorities cruelty and racism erupted in the wake of George Floyd's killing in the custody of Minneapolis authorities, protesters across the country have actually taken apart or defaced statues of Confederate generals or figures such as Christopher Columbus.

The demonstration versus the Andrew Jackson statue, in sight of the White House, provoked the ire of President Donald Trump.

Trump threatened any protesters who vandalized a statue up to a decade in jail under a federal law safeguarding monoliths of members of the U.S. militaries.

On Tuesday night, protesters held a tranquil rally around a statue of Abraham Lincoln standing over an emancipated Black male. The demonstrators called for its removal.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has requested the U.S. Park Service eliminate the statue, however urged protesters not to do something about it themselves.

Federal forces' policing of Black Lives Matter protests in the District throughout the very first weeks of June drew sharp criticism, specifically after tear gas was used at points and a helicopter hovered low over demonstrators.

Officials say about 1,200 D.C. Guard members were released throughout that discontent, along with more than 3,000 Guard members from other states.

Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.Source: nbcwashington.com

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