Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday agreed to extend National Guard support in Washington, D.C., due to truck drivers protesting COVID-19 policies in the area.
Austin approved requests from the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency "to extend previously approved National Guard support in the District, including around the U.S. Capitol area," according to a statement from press secretary John Kirby, The Hill reported.
The Guardsmen will provide support at traffic control points for two additional days through Wednesday.
Capitol Police leaders reportedly were worried about the possibility of the truckers and other vehicles causing shutdowns of various roads and highways in the D.C. area.
Hundreds of trucks, recreational vehicles and cars circled the outskirts of Washington on Sunday, aiming to slow traffic around the capital as part of a protest against pandemic restrictions.
The "people's convoy," which originated in California and gained participants from around the country, is calling for an end to all pandemic-related restrictions. The convoy was inspired by the demonstrations that affected Canada's cities for weeks.
The Capitol Police Board during the weekend issued an emergency declaration due to truck drivers protesting COVID-19 policies in the area, Bloomberg reported.
Last month, Austin approved 700 unarmed National Guard troops to be deployed in Washington from Feb. 26 through March 7 to help with traffic ahead of the truck convoy and President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.
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