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Esper says no military for protests as standby troops leave

Esper says no military for protests as standby troops leave Photo: MGN/Davide Dalla Massara/USArmy

Compiled from a number of Associated Press stories
Updated: June 04, 2020 04:19 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper is breaking with President Donald Trump, saying he opposes using active-duty  military forces for law enforcement in the U.S. Trump has raised that possibility, though the White House has cooled on the idea as protests have calmed in the past two days.

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In fact, defense officials said some troops who had been brought to bases near Washington were beginning to return to their home bases on Wednesday.

Esper said active-duty troops in a law enforcement role should be used in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” adding, “We are not in one of those situations now.” 

Senior defense officials tell the Associated Press that U.S. active-duty soldiers brought in to help if needed with the civil unrest in the nation’s capitol are beginning to return to their home base, after two days of more peaceful demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

About 200 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne’s immediate response force will be the first to leave on Wednesday.

The remainder of the active-duty troops, who have all been kept outside the city, will also get pulled home in the coming days if conditions allow. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss imminent troop movements.

Credits

Compiled from a number of Associated Press stories

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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