WASHINGTON D.C. – Hundreds of National Guard troops are slated to be deployed in Washington D.C. in order to assist local authorities with traffic control as the imminent arrival of protestors looms over President Joe Biden’s upcoming March 1 State of the Union speech.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly approved requests from both the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police for National Guard help with traffic control during “First Amendment demonstrations” that are expected to take place in the nation’s capitol, according to Capitol Police officials.
In particular, the request came in light of news that multiple truck convoys are currently in route to Washington D.C. Organizer Bob Bolus told The Epoch Times that the convoy he will head up will travel on the Capitol Beltway in an attempt to “shut it down” by blocking traffic, but will avoid downtown Washington due to the expected heavy security they would encounter.
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Capitol Police officials have stated that they are aware of the truck convoys, and said they are prepared to deal with them should they break the law in the process of expressing their First Amendment rights.
“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, D.C., around the time of the State of the Union,” the agency said. “As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity.”
Nearly 1,000 National Guardsmen will be deployed in D.C., with approximately 400 hailing from Washington and an additional 300 from outside the capitol; in addition, they will be bringing at least 50 large tactical vehicles as well. The troops will provide “command and control” support as well as providing support at Capitol entry points and traffic posts.
The so-called “freedom convoys” have been springing up across the United States and Canada, made up mostly of pro-Trump groups and anti-vaccine supporters in protest of COVID-19 restrictions.