Pentagon extends National Guard support in DC after trucker convoy arrives

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The Pentagon on Monday extended National Guard support to Washington, D.C., law enforcement after the Capitol Police Board over the weekend issued an emergency declaration due to truck drivers protesting COVID-19 policies in the area.

Defense Secretary Lloyd 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 guardsmen will provide support at traffic control points for two additional days through Wednesday, Kirby said.

Austin last month 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.

The Pentagon extended the guardsmen's time in the Beltway region after the convoy protests began Sunday and slowed traffic outside the capital. The gathering, dubbed the "People's Convoy," is expected to last several days.

Capitol Police leaders are reportedly worried about the possibility of the trucks and other vehicles causing shutdowns of various roads and highways and creating a situation similar to the "Freedom Convoy" that shut down parts of Canadian capital Ottawa.