The District of Columbia National Guard is activating more than 300 troops to support the city government during the planned protests against President-elect Joe Biden’s win in downtown DC from January 5 to 7.
Requested by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Dr. Christopher Rodriguez, head of the DC Homeland Security, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), DC National Guardsmen will provide traffic control and crowd management during the demonstrations, according to a statement from DC Guard spokeswoman Capt. Tinashe Machona.
Around 340 personnel will assist MPD at several Metro stations and take part in street closures at some intersections. They will also provide safety of pedestrian areas.
“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, Commanding General of the DC National Guard, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“Our main mission is augmenting select traffic control points and metro stations identified by MPD,” Walker added.
Supporters of President Donald Trump are expected to take to the DC streets in thousands this week to protest the 2020 election results.
In the meantime, President Trump, who refuses to believe the legitimacy of Biden’s victory, has been urging his base to participate in the rally through his Twitter account.
I will be there. Historic day! https://t.co/k6LStsWpfy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
On the other hand, Mayor Bowser called on residents of the area to stay away from downtown Washington during the expected demonstrations in a statement on Sunday.
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 3, 2021