Pentagon extends National Guard presence in nation's capital as trucker convoy arrives in the area

The truckers slowed some traffic patterns outside the Beltway over the weekend.

Updated: March 7, 2022 - 1:49pm

The Pentagon on Monday extended the National Guard support that was dispatched to Washington, D.C., over the weekend as part of an emergency declaration related to the hundreds of truck drivers and other motorists protesting COVID-19 restrictions. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved requests from the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency extending "previously approved National Guard support in the District, including around the U.S. Capitol area," agency spokesman John Kirby says.

About 1,000 people associated with the so-called "Freedom Convoy – patterned after a recent one in Canada – have camped about 70 miles northwest of the District since Friday but so far have only circled the city on its Beltway. 

The Guardsmen will remain in the area through Wednesday, providing support at traffic control points. This past weekend guards could be seen in the District, including on Capitol Hill. The convoy on Sunday caused minor traffic disruptions on the Beltway, bu they've yet to come into the city.

Last month, the secretary approved 700 unarmed National Guard troops to be deployed to D.C. to assist with traffic patterns ahead of the convoy.

The convoy is expected to last several more days, prompting the extension of the Guardsmen's presence.