It came after President Donald Trump and other officials issues warnings to demonstrators and rioters who have defaced or vandalized statues.
“The District of Columbia National Guard is responding to a request to support law enforcement officials and has dispatched unarmed personnel, with others on stand-by,” National Guard spokesman Maj. Robert Perino said in a statement, according to CNN. “Activated Guardsmen are expected to provide security for local monuments and critical infrastructure.”
The D.C. National Guard has not responded to a request for comment.
On Tuesday, the president vowed to crack down on people vandalizing a monument, saying they could face lengthy prison terms.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
His posts came as vandals attempted to take down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt wrote in a statement on Monday, “I just left Lafayette Square where another so called ‘peaceful protest’ led to destruction tonight … Let me be clear: we will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served.” He said that law enforcement agencies responded to the incident, adding that the statue was not toppled.
The Interior Department noted that rioters “have vandalized national memorials and monuments, ignited sacred sites, attacked law enforcement officers, and destroyed countless businesses.”
“Across the country, some elected leaders of our cities have expressed enthusiasm and support for these criminals, exhibiting an undeniable unwillingness to protect law abiding citizens and their property. We live in the greatest country in the world, and I thank our dedicated law enforcement officials who stand tall against these coordinated attacks and seek peace and justice for all,” the agency wrote.
On Tuesday, D.C. police officers were seen clearing 16th and H streets in Washington, removing tents and makeshift barricades after demonstrators and anarchists tried to set up an “autonomous zone.”