Pentagon approves National Guard deployment as truck convoys travel to D.C.

US Defense Secretary Austin has approved the provision of 400 District of Columbia National Guard personnel and 50 vehicles to support the Metropolitan Police at designated traffic posts, Xinhua news agency quoted Pentagon press secretary John Kirby as saying on Wednesday. Austin, he said, has also greenlighted provision of up to 300 National Guard personnel from neighboring states to support the US Capitol Police officers.

The Pentagon said that it has authorized hundreds of unarmed National Guard members to be deployed in Washington, D.C., as truck convoys are heading to the US capital city to stage protests.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved the provision of 400 District of Columbia National Guard personnel and 50 vehicles to support the Metropolitan Police Department at designated traffic posts, Xinhua news agency quoted Pentagon press secretary John Kirby as saying on Wednesday.

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Austin, he said, has also greenlighted the provision of up to 300 National Guard personnel from neighboring states to support the US Capitol Police officers with traffic control operations at designated perimeter posts.

The deployed troops will not carry firearms, take part in law enforcement or carry out domestic surveillance activities.

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Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region "are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys" arriving in the US capital around the time of President Joe Biden's first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on March 1, the Capitol Police has recently said.

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Truckers held weeks-long protests in Canada against the country's Covid restrictions earlier this year by blocking city traffic and border crossings with the US, prompting some Americans to organise similar events.

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