Dozens of National Guard troops from South Carolina were seen checking out of their Washington, D.C., hotel shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted he was giving the order to withdraw guard forces from the nation’s capital.
The troops sipped coffee from an adjacent Starbucks and smoked cigarettes Sunday morning as they awaited buses to take them to the airport for a flight home.
Trump ordered guard troops into D.C. to “dominate” the streets after some protests over the killing of George Floyd turned violent. The city’s mayor called on Trump last week to withdraw outside forces amid days of largely peaceful protests.
In Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, demonstrators toppled a statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham from its pedestal after a day of mostly peaceful demonstrations across the commonwealth.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that most of the demonstrators had already dispersed when a rope was tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891 in Richmond’s Monroe Park, which is surrounded by the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. In 2017, some of Wickham’s descendants urged the city to remove the statue.
A Richmond police spokeswoman didn’t know if there were any arrests and the extent of any damage.
Confederate monuments are a major flashpoint in Virginia. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that a state-owned statue of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee would be removed from its perch on the famed Monument Avenue “as soon as possible.”