US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reversed the decision to withdraw the troops, earlier deployed outside Washington for possible aid amid the ongoing protests, AP said on Wednesday citing Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.
Earlier, the agency said the withdrawal of troops had already begun. According to its report, about 200 servicemen were expected to return to North Carolina within 24 hours, while the remainder, kept at military bases outside the city in northern Virginia and Maryland, will be sent to their home bases in coming days.
However, according to new information, Esper ordered to put the troop redeployment on hold after visiting the White House.
The agency reported that the US authorities have stopped short of using the military to quell the unrest in Washington, although this possibility was being considered. According to AP, about 1,300 servicemen arrived to DC to help maintain law and order should the need arise. Besides, approximately 1,700 National Guard officers were sent to Washington and its suburbs from Indiana, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Mass unrest has engulfed many US states over the death of an African-American Minneapolis man named George Floyd. He died after a police officer kneeled on his neck and choked him to death while being taken into custody. On May 26, all police officers involved in the deadly arrest were fired. One of them was charged with second-degree murder, while three others – with aiding and abetting murder and second-degree manslaughter.
To counter the riots, local law enforcement is often supported by the US National Guard. So far, 40 cities, including New York and Washington, have enacted a curfew.
Source: TASS, June 4, 2020