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120 members of Maryland National Guard headed to D.C.; Hogan criticized by ACLU for ‘emboldening’ Trump

The White House is visible behind a large security fence as uniformed Secret Service and FBI agents stand on the street in front of Lafayette Park in the morning hours in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, as protests continue over the death of George Floyd. About 120 members of the Maryland National Guard will be sent to Washington, according to a Guard spokeswoman. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
The White House is visible behind a large security fence as uniformed Secret Service and FBI agents stand on the street in front of Lafayette Park in the morning hours in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, as protests continue over the death of George Floyd. About 120 members of the Maryland National Guard will be sent to Washington, according to a Guard spokeswoman. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Members of the Maryland National Guard will be sent to Washington, D.C., to help quell violence there, a Guard official said Tuesday.

About 120 members of the Maryland National Guard will join the response to Washington, said Lt. Jennifer Alston, a public affairs officer for the Guard.

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“They’re going to fall under the D.C. National Guard’s command and control to provide security in response to civil unrest in the nation’s capital,” Alston said.

The Guard’s mission will involve protecting monuments in and around the National Mall, according to the governor’s office.

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Washington, like many American cities, has been wracked by protests that turned violent — including Monday evening when law enforcement forced out peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park near the White House, just before President Donald Trump walked to a nearby church for a photo opportunity.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has put in place a 7 p.m.-through-6 a.m. curfew.

Trump stepped up the pressure on governors to crack down after a week of unrest set off by the death of George Floyd, demanding New York call in the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.”

As cities around the U.S. witnessed a seventh straight night of both peaceful demonstrations and bursts of theft, vandalism and attacks on police, the president amplified his hard-line calls of a day earlier, in which he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.

The ACLU of Maryland condemned Gov. Larry Hogan for “emboldening” Trump’s response to the protests.

“The practice of using military-style measures to intimidate and silence Black and allied voices for racial justice must stop,” ACLU of Maryland Executive Director Dana Vickers Shelley said in a statement Tuesday. “Too many lives have been lost. Maryland residents should oppose Governor Hogan’s embrace of President Trump’s tactics that endanger the lives of Black people. Those who protest should not be treated as the enemy.”

The ACLU said Maryland is sending the Guard soldiers to the District of Columbia over Bowser’s objection. Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said the governor’s office reached out to the mayor’s office, “and they expressed no objection.” Bowser’s office could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

In Virginia, where Guard members are on duty for protest events, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, declined to send Guard members to Washington, according to published reports.

“I am not going to send our men and women in uniform of our very proud national guard to Washington for a photo op," Northam said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Hogan, a Republican, has not deployed Guard members for protests within Maryland, though Guard trucks were used to transport Baltimore police officers downtown Monday night. Hogan said in an interview on WBAL Radio on Tuesday morning that he didn’t think U.S. military intervention is necessary.

“I don’t think that we need federal troops and I don’t think there are going to be federal troops. I’m not sure the president can send federal troops unless it’s at the request of the governor,” Hogan said.

However, in a conference call with the nation’s governors and the president on Monday, Hogan discussed how the National Guard can help “overwhelmed” police, citing his activation of the Guard in 2015 after peaceful protests led to looting and arson in Baltimore. He also told Trump: “I couldn’t agree more with all of the things that you’ve said.”

That remark has earned Hogan criticism, including a Twitter rebuke from House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, who wrote: “I didn’t hear Governor Hogan calling for military force when armed white protestors demanded that other states reopen. Every American deserves the same protection of leaders of all parties to exercise their constitutional rights and demand justice.”

More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the unrest.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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