Vermont to send 100 National Guard troops to Washington
COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont National Guard will send about 100 infantry soldiers to Washington to help provide security for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Most of the soldiers will be from the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Vermont Adj. Gen. Greg Knight, the head of the Vermont National Guard, says it is honored to help secure the presidential inauguration.
The mission was approved by Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican.
“After the tragic events at our Capitol on January 6, we must do all we can to secure a peaceful transition of power on Inauguration Day,” Scott said in a statement. “I am grateful to the brave men and women of the Vermont National Guard for their service and doing their part during this deployment to protect our republic and the democratic values we hold dear.”
The Vermont soldiers will be among nearly 20,000 National Guard soldiers being called upon to provide security after last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of insurrectionists.
All the Vermont soldiers will follow COVID-19 protocols and may quarantine on their return from Washington.
Vermont police say they are unaware of any specific, credible threats made against the Statehouse in Montpelier or anywhere else in the state as part of an “armed march” by insurrectionists upset with the pending departure from the presidency of Donald Trump.
In a statement Thursday, the Department of Public Safety said that if it learns of specific threats it will inform the public.
Police said the Vermont State Police, Montpelier Police Department, Capitol Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department are planning for any eventuality.
Meanwhile, a group calling itself Neighbors Together Against Fascism is urging followers to attend a “family friendly rally against fascism” on Sunday outside the Statehouse in Montpelier.
“We’re aware that there is a national call-out for the far right to show up at statehouses around the country on the 17th,” the group said in an online notice. “We want to reclaim this space as a clear stand against fascism and ensure that even if they do show up, they are vastly outnumbered.”
After the Jan. 6 violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, there were calls for an armed march at all 50 state capitals this weekend and next week.
Biden will be sworn in Wednesday.
State officials say they recognize the rights of people to protest, but they also “encourage the public to consider, in light of recent events and in the interest of personal responsibility and safety, when the best time is to exercise these rights.”
Also Thursday, the Vermont Troopers Association and the Vermont State Employees’ Association called on any protesters “to conduct a peaceful demonstration, obey the law, leave property undamaged and, most important, respect the men and women who will be called upon to be on-the-job, performing the public service they were hired to do for the State of Vermont and its citizens.”