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3 Jun, 2020 02:29

‘Prudent planning measure’: Pentagon flies 1,600 active-duty troops into DC area to be on standby as protests continue

‘Prudent planning measure’: Pentagon flies 1,600 active-duty troops into DC area to be on standby as protests continue

Some 1,600 soldiers have been deployed to the region around Washington DC to manage ongoing demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, the Pentagon said, noting the troops had not yet been deployed in the city.

“Active duty elements are postured on military bases in the National Capitol Region but are not in Washington DC,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement, adding that the soldiers are on “heightened alert status” but “are not participating in defense support to civil authority operations.”

In a message to the military on Tuesday night, Defense Secretary Mark Esper called on the troops to “stay apolitical,” apparently urging them not to take sides in the heated protests, which were sparked by the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Many of the demonstrations, which have broken out in dozens of cities in recent days, have become violent, descending into looting and arson and prompting authorities in some locations to call in National Guard reinforcements, including in DC. Though Tuesday’s protest in the capital has remained largely peaceful, demonstrators still on the streets are now violating the city’s 7pm curfew, putting them at risk of arrest.

Also on rt.com 'We're not leaving!’ Hundreds take to streets in DC in defiance of curfew order as protests rage on

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