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US Secretary of Defense reverses withdrawal of troops sent to Washington amid protests

The US authorities have stopped short of using the military to quell the unrest in Washington, although this possibility was being considered

WASHINGTON, June 4. /TASS/. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reversed the decision to withdraw the troops, earlier deployed outside Washington for possible aid amid the ongoing protests, AP said on Wednesday citing Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

Earlier, the agency said the withdrawal of troops had already begun. According to its report, about 200 servicemen were expected to return to North Carolina within 24 hours, while the remainder, kept at military bases outside the city in northern Virginia and Maryland, will be sent to their home bases in coming days.

However, according to new information, Esper ordered to put the troop redeployment on hold after visiting the White House.

The agency reported that the US authorities have stopped short of using the military to quell the unrest in Washington, although this possibility was being considered. According to AP, about 1,300 servicemen arrived to DC to help maintain law and order should the need arise. Besides, approximately 1,700 National Guard officers were sent to Washington and its suburbs from Indiana, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Widespread unrest has engulfed many US states over the death of an African-American Minneapolis man named George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck and choked him to death during his arrest. On May 26, all officers involved in the deadly arrest were fired. On May 29, the policeman in question, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. However, on June 3, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upped the charge against Chauvin to second-degree murder. The three other officers involved in the fatal incident were arrested as well and are now facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

To counter the riots, local law enforcement is often supported by the National Guard. So far, 40 cities, including New York, have enacted a curfew.