Pentagon Approves 700 National Guards to Help Washington Police During Truckers Protest
© AP Photo / Julio CortezMember of the DC National Guard walk around the U.S. Capitol grounds, Thursday morning, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington. In the aftermath of the deadly riot at the Capitol last week, questions are being raised about why the District of Columbia National Guard played such a limited role as civilian law enforcement officers were outnumbered and overrun.
© AP Photo / Julio Cortez
WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - The US Defense Department has approved deploying 700 National Guard troops and equipment in Washington to assist police control the truckers’ protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates during the State of the Union address on March 1, spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
“The Secretary of Defense [Lloyd Austin] has approved the provision of 400 District of Columbia National Guard (DCNG) personnel and 50 vehicles to support the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia at designated traffic posts”, Kirby said in a statement.
Austin also has approved providing an additional 300 National Guard personnel from the neighboring US states, he said.
Kirby explained the National Guard is providing support at the request of Washington’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
The District of Columbia National Guard troops will be prepared to assist the Washington Metropolitan Police Department at traffic posts as soon as operationally and logistically feasible through March 7, Kirby said.
The planned protest in DC follows the pattern of the Canadian "Freedom Convoys", which local truckers organised in Ottawa weeks ago to protest against the government's decision to require COVID vaccination certificates for truckers entering Canada.
The protesters in the US plan to launch several convoys, organising them online under various names, such as the People’s Convoy and the American Truckers Freedom Fund. They start off in different parts of the country and on various days, with Washington, DC set as the destination. Some of them are scheduled to arrive in time for Joe Biden's State of the Union address, which is set to be held historically late this year – on 1 March.