For the first time in nearly five months, the Capitol in Washington, seat of the US Congress, was unprotected Monday, May 25, by troops of the National Guard, the threat of far-right violence having subsided. since the January 6 attack.
Their mission to protect Congress having formally come to an end, the last 2,149 soldiers of a contingent that numbered 26,000 at the height of this extraordinary deployment left Washington over the weekend.
The Capitol had been under tight security since January 6, when thousands of Donald Trump supporters gathered at the foot of Parliament’s headquarters after one of his speeches. While still president, he had encouraged them to prevent elected officials from certifying the electoral victory of his successor Joe Biden. Several hundred of these partisans had violently attacked the building, sowing chaos. Five people, including a Capitol policeman, died.
Some 440 people prosecuted
Fear of new threats surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20 had resulted in the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops and barbed barriers erected around the Capitol, making it appear like a working building. of siege.
The soldiers had remained in the U.S. capital for several months after the inauguration while investigating what many called« insurrection » was taking its course.
Donald Trump, indicted and then acquitted at his trial in Congress for his role in the attack, later claimed that the attackers did not represent “No threat” for elected officials, and wished to minimize the event. Since January 6, the FBI has arrested and prosecuted some 440 people involved in the assault, several dozen of whom were linked to armed militias.
“Defenders of democracy”
“We would like to express our sincere thanks and our deep gratitude to the women and men of the National Guard for ensuring the security of the United States Capitol for nearly five months”President Joe Biden said in a statement Monday night.
These soldiers “Did not only protect the land [du Capitole], but also the elected officials working there, thus ensuring that the affairs of the people can continue unabated “Defense Minister Lloyd Austin said.
The soldiers of “The National Guard are American heroes and defenders of democracy. Their presence in our temple of democracy after January 6, one of the most painful and terrible days in our history, brought security and appeasement to Congress and certainly to the country ”, also supported the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.