Ohio Activates National Guard Ahead Of Inauguration Protests

Ohio National Guard armored Humvees drive through Downtown Cleveland on June 5, after being called up in the wake of May 30 demonstrations.
Ohio National Guard armored Humvees drive through Downtown Cleveland on June 5, after being called up in the wake of May 30 demonstrations. [Nick Castele / ideastream]

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine authorized the activation of 580 National Guard members for service in Washington, D.C., and at home in Ohio ahead of protests planned in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

The order, signed Tuesday, allows guardmembers to be on active duty starting Thursday through Jan. 21. The move comes after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters overtook the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday, delaying Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results. More protests are expected this weekend in state capitols across the country, including Columbus.

“People have the right to protest,” DeWine said during his Tuesday coronavirus briefing. “They do not have the right to be destructive or hurt other people.”

About 200 of Ohio’s troops will head to D.C., DeWine said, adding that it’s a normal inauguration procedure. But the governor also said he is concerned about the continuing protests and that he is in communication with Statehouse leaders and the mayors of Ohio’s major cities.

“We’ll evaluate the situation, but we’re going to defer to the mayors. If the mayors tell me they need National Guard, in all likelihood, I’m going to send National Guard,” DeWine said. “We’re fully prepared to activate more National Guard.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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