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June 11, 2020

National Guard departing Philadelphia as peaceful protests continue

National Guard Protests
national guard leave philadelphia Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

The National Guard is leaving Philadelphia after assisting police during the civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Hundreds of National Guard members are preparing to leave Philadelphia after assisting police during the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

A spokesperson from the Mayor's Office, Deanna Gamble, confirmed the National Guard is planning to depart, according to The Inquirer.

"Demobilization of the National Guard is currently underway," Gamble told the newspaper. "They will, however, remain in the area for the next few days in the event their support is needed again."

The National Guard was deployed to Philadelphia on June 1 at the city's request. On Wednesday, guard members were seen dismantling their posts next to City Hall and the Municipal Services Building. 

The National Guard was deployed to Philadelphia to assist law enforcement after an initial demonstration gave way to several days of looting in some city neighborhoods. 

Peaceful protests calling for racial justice, including a massive demonstration on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, continued despite the destruction.

The National Guard was posted along various commercial corridors and municipal buildings. Its members also stood by as the controversial Frank Rizzo statue was removed earlier this month. There were no reports of the National Guard using force against protesters. 

Floyd, a black man, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while three other officers watched. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder; the other three face aiding and abetting charges. All four have been fired from the department.

The National Guard is made up of civilians who may be called into duty to assist with domestic emergencies, such as natural disaster or civil unrest.

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