In Washington DC this weekend, we will witness something extraordinary, whether it be the most distinguished exercising of the First Amendment of recent history, or a devolving spiral of chaos being egged on by American extremists.
Americans want justice and change after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, and have been marching in an attempt to affect that change for 11 days. This weekend is set to be the largest demonstration yet, and it has many in DC on edge. The White House is effectively walled off by barricades of chain link fences, military vehicles, and all manner of authorities.
Some of those enforcement personnel will not be armed this weekend, however, after an order from Pentagon head honcho Mark Esper.
The Pentagon has told Washington D.C.’s National Guard and guardsmen from other states who have are in the nation’s capital not to use guns or ammunition.
The order came from Defense Secretary Mark Esper and made without consulting the White House, The Washington Post reported, and it’s seen as a sign of de-escalation of the federal response to protests that sprung up in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Trump has pushed for a strong militarized show of force, calling himself the ‘law and order president,’ and earning him criticism from several retired military generals, including his former chief of staff John Kelly and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The decision won’t likely be heralded by the Commander in Chief, who has already sparred with Esper several times over the course of the last few days.
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