Pentagon moves 1,600 Army troops to National Capital Region, as protests continue

The Pentagon said 1,600 active duty U.S. Army troops have been flown to the National Capital Region and are standing-by as daily and nightly protests continue in Washington, D.C. over George Floyd’s death.

The troops are positioned on military bases in the National Capital Region, but are not in Washington, D.C., according to the Pentagon.

In a news release on Tuesday, the Defense Department said Secretary Mark Esper authorized the movement of the troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Drum, New York.

The troops arrived by military aircraft within a day of President Donald Trump saying he would deploy the U.S. military to to American cities if local leaders and police were unable to deal with violent and destructive protests.

“They are on heightened alert status,” according to the statement from Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, but as of now, “are not participating in defense support to civil authority operations.”

Tuesday’s protests in downtown Washington — which continued after the District’s emergency 7 p.m. curfew — were noticeably less tense and confrontational than the previous four evenings, which included sporadic violence and property destruction, amidst largely-peaceful crowds of protesters upset over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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