Pentagon Approves Deployment of National Guard in Washington DC as Trucker Protests Loom

The Pentagon has approved the deployment of hundreds of National Guard troops in Washington DC following a request by the US Capitol Police. The DC police made the move as they are bracing for trucker convoys to drive into the city in the coming days in protest against the pandemic restrictions.

The troops will be unarmed and they will help the police in traffic control during the protests. DC National Guard also maintained that 50 large tactical vehicles will also be deployed in the wake of the possible protests.

National Guard
National Guard members near the Capitol Wikimedia Commons

The unarmed guard members will help the local authorities by providing command, control and support at the traffic points. However, according to the official statement, the guards are not authorized to conduct law-enforcement or domestic-surveillance activities during their deployment.

Can't Use Helicopters and Other Aircraft

District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency last Wednesday requested the Pentagon for the guard support.

Following the request, Defense Secretary approved 400 members of the DC National Guard and 50 large tactical vehicles for that mission.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Wikimedia Commons

In order to assist the local authorities, the vehicles will be placed at certain traffic posts from Saturday. As per the official order, the mission is approved to continue until March 8, reported CNN.

With regard to the deployment of the National Guards, the Pentagon was also requested by the US Capitol Police on Sunday.

In connection with their request, the Department of Defence approved additional 300 members from National Guard units outside DC to enter the city. However, the Pentagon has not cleared which states would provide the guard members to support the mission.

Their deployment is scheduled to start from Saturday morning and the units will be placed at certain entrances to the Capitol and assist with traffic control.

It comes after the massive truckers' protests in Canada last week had blocked the Ambassador Bridge for days, forcing officials to impose the state of emergency and disrupting the major trade route between the US and Canada. The truckers' had staged protests over pandemic restrictions.