Hundreds of troops with the Washington, DC, National Guard have mobilized to provide security for monuments in the nation’s capital, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt ordered the action this week, as rioters across the country have targeted statues and other historical figures, including Confederate leaders, and former Presidents George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant.
The Pentagon confirmed that nearly 100 D.C. National Guardsmen have been asked to report for duty and are on standby.
“Since their activation, none of the National Guard members have been dispatched to actual monument locations to provide assistance to the NPP,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Christian Mitchell said in a statement. “They remain on standby at the D.C. Armory at this time. They will support U.S. Park Police at key monuments to prevent any defacing or destruction.”
Mitchell noted that the members of the National Guard remain unarmed and “will serve as a uniformed deterrence” to provide “crowd control.”
Protesters in the D.C. area already tried to attack a statue of Andrew Jackson by the White House on Monday, with one suspected vandal defacing the monument with the phrase “killer scum,” Reuters reported.
Protesters also vandalized the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial in earlier demonstrations.
President Donald Trump warned would-be protesters late Monday that anyone caught vandalizing monuments could face up to ten years behind bars.