Hundreds of D.C. National Guard troops have been activated to respond to planned pro-Trump protests in D.C. this week, at the request of Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Approximately 340 National Guard personnel will support the city government January 5-7 by providing crowd control at several Metro stations and assisting police with street closures at multiple intersections “to provide safety in and around pedestrian areas,” according to a National Guard statement.
The statement said that more Guardsmen are prepared to respond “should additional personnel be required.” In addition, all D.C. police officers are required to work Tuesday and Wednesday, Bowser said in a statement Sunday.
“At the request of Mayor Muriel Bowser, the District of Columbia National Guard is in a support role to the Metropolitan Police Department which will enable them to provide a safe environment for our fellow citizens to exercise their first amendment right to demonstrate,” Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commander of the D.C. National Guard, said in a statement.
“Our main mission is augmenting select traffic control points and metro stations identified by MPD,” he said.
While 340 Guardsmen will be activated, about 115 will be on duty on the streets at any given time and unarmed without body armor, a U.S. defense official told the Associated Press. The National Guard activation was approved by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, since D.C. is not a state and does not have a governor.
Bowser also asked residents to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and “not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation” — in reference to pro-Trump protesters.
“We will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful,” she said Monday.
I am asking Washingtonians and those who live in the region to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation, and we will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 4, 2021
Some conservative figures questioned why Bowser was activating the National Guard in advance of the planned protests, whereas in the past, she had done so only after Black Lives Matters and Antifa protesters engaged in violent clashes with the police. The U.S. defense official told the AP that Bowser put in the request for the National Guard activation on December 31.
Mayor Bow Wow of DC is mobilizing the National Guard in advance of a peaceful MAGA event; but issued a stand down order to police, and refused to activate the National Guard when the rioters were looting, burning, and vandalizing the city and defacing National Monuments
— Dr.Darrell Scott (@PastorDScott) January 5, 2021
DC Mayor mobilizes National Guard ahead of protests against Jan. 6 electoral vote certification
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) January 4, 2021
Dr. Sebastian Gorka, host of America First, rhetorically asked Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), who is a member of the National Guard, on his Monday show about Bowser requesting help from the National Guard, “Which side of the political divide has normalized violence in the past four years?”
Bowser, during the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots in the summer, even pushed for National Guardsmen from out of state requested by the federal government for D.C. to go back home, as noted by the Daily Caller’s Shelby Talcott:
Mayor Bowser in June regarding National Guard in DC: https://t.co/2a2LYCRVhj
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) January 4, 2021