Some 400 National Guard troops have been activated in the nation’s capital to protect historical monuments from vandalism, following a failed attempt by protesters to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House.
The guardsmen, who would be unarmed if deployed, were placed on standby Wednesday afternoon as heated demonstrations against police brutality and racism rage on around the country, driving calls for the removal of statues and monuments protesters see as celebrating slavery and other historical abuses.
“The District of Columbia National Guard has sent unarmed troops to guard monuments and other infrastructure in support of local law enforcement agencies,” said Craig Clapper, spokesperson for the DC National Guard.
The 400 troops have not yet been moved into the streets and remain in the National Guard Armory in the capital but, if needed, will be deployed to aid the DC Park Police at “key monuments to prevent any defacing or destruction.”
On Monday night, protesters tried to tear down a statue of former president Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park outside the White House; they associate him with the brutal forced relocation of Native Americans in the mid-1800s, among other criticisms.
Though the demonstrators only succeeded in