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Pentagon: Guardsmen in DC will not use firearms amid peaceful protests

The Pentagon directed the nearly 5,000 National Guardsmen in Washington, D.C., to not use firearms or ammunition amid demonstrations in the nation’s capital protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. 

The directive came earlier this week and is temporary based on the fact that protests in Washington have been peaceful in recent days, a Pentagon spokesperson told The Hill.

“The whole purpose behind that was a purposeful show of de-escalation,” one U.S. defense official told The Washington Post. “We’re here, but we’re walking things down.”

According to the Post, the troops were armed Monday, but they did not have magazines of ammunition in their firearms, and by Tuesday they did not have firearms at all.

National Guard troops have been in the area this week after demonstrations over the weekend resulted in several monuments being defaced. 

Earlier this week, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate’s racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE mobilized National Guard troops from other states to D.C. after protests continued in the city for multiple days, including near the White House.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Friday requested that the president “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the nation’s capital.

In a letter to Trump on Friday morning, Bowser announced that she had “ended the state of emergency in the District of Columbia related to demonstrations.”

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