Dramatic photos captured members of the National Guard standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during a June 2 protest over the death of George Floyd. You can see the pictures throughout this article.
The caption on the photos by Getty Images reads, “Members of the D.C. National Guard stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as demonstrators participate in a peaceful protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on June 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. Protests continue to be held in cities throughout the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.”
Photos with a longer view showed the National Guard members standing on the steps before a larger crowd of demonstrators. National Guard members also protected the White House.
They also blocked a D.C. intersection.
On May 31, the National Mall reported vandalism, writing, “In the wake of last night’s demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall. For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition.”
That vandalism occurred on an earlier day, though, not on June 2.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Guard Has Been Activated in at Least 28 States as Well as D.C.
On June 3, the National Guard wrote on Twitter, “Today, more than 39,400 Guard members in all 50 states, 3 territories, and D.C. are supporting COVID-19 response operations, while another 30,000 Guard members in 31 states and D.C. are assisting law enforcement authorities with ongoing civil unrest.” On June 2, the Guard wrote, “As of this morning, governors in 28 states and the District of Columbia have activated more than 20,400 National Guard members to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations.”
General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, wrote on Twitter on May 31, “Responding to civil unrest is the hardest mission your National Guard does. Our unique, longstanding partnerships with local civilian first responders mean we are Always Ready, Always There to help, when needed, where it’s needed.”
The Guard also wrote: “Governors have used Guard members many times during response efforts to support local and state law enforcement in a wide range of capacities, to include assisting in upholding the rule of law. While conditions may change the National Guard’s ability to respond is constant.”
Some people on social media found the photos disturbing, though. “This photo…at the Lincoln Memorial is deeply disturbing,” wrote one man, sharing the picture at the top of this article. According to ABC News, Sen. Chuck Schumer said the photos of “troops dressed for combat” at the Lincoln Memorial reminded him of Tiananmen Square: “This administration ordered federal officers to gas peaceful protesters … What is President Trump doing to this grand democracy?” However, another man countered, “Protecting the Lincoln Memorial from vandalism is not ‘deeply disturbing.'”
On June 3, The Washington Post reported that “as many as 2,000 demonstrators descended on Washington.” The Post reported that the protesters were “largely peaceful” and included “high schoolers and stay-at-home moms, young parents and toddlers, elderly couples and large families” and added that “tensions also flared at multiple flash points during the day.”
Videos showed the protest.
According to The Post, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper requested National Guard troops from different states to “supplement the local and federal police and the D.C. National Guard.”