The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

D.C. requests support from 500 members of D.C. National Guard through March 12

Members of the National Guard salute during the national anthem at President Biden’s inauguration.
Members of the National Guard salute during the national anthem at President Biden’s inauguration. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
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D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has requested that a total of 500 ­members of the D.C. National Guard remain activated through March 12 for the upcoming ­impeachment trial of Donald Trump, President Biden’s February speech to Congress and potential extremist activity in the city on March 4.

The Monday letter came days after D.C. National Guard Maj. Gen. William J. Walker granted Bowser’s earlier request for 500 troops to stay in the District through Jan. 30.

National Guard members allowed back at Capitol after they were banished to a parking garage

Christopher Rodriguez, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said in the letter that the primary function of the troops’ extended stay would be to assist D.C. police “in the event our civil disturbance (mobile field force) capabilities are extended.”

The city requested that the troops be unarmed but equipped with shields, batons and other crowd-control equipment.

National Guard members have been slowly leaving Washington since a relatively quiet Inauguration Day, when upward of 25,000 troops were called to protect the nation’s capital after the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6.

Leadership is under pressure to ensure a safe stay for the troops after reports surfaced that dozens of National Guard members had contracted the coronavirus and hundreds were forced to rest in a parking garage mid-shift at the Capitol.

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