Some of the National Guardsmen activated in the Washington, D.C., area to help respond to protests against COVID-19 mandates will be spending a couple extra days on duty, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The requests from U.S. Capitol Police and D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency to have Guardsmen assist with traffic control have been extended through March 9, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Of the original 400 activated, 260 will be extended.

“The people who live, work and visit the District are part of our community, and their safety is our first mission priority,” Maj. Gen. Sherrie L. McCandless, DCNG’s commanding general, said Feb. 22 after the original request was approved. “Our [Metropolitan Police Department] and USCP partners have asked for our help in ensuring people can demonstrate peacefully and safely, and we stand ready to assist.”

Planned convoys of truckers have not made an appearance in D.C. thus far.

On Sunday, a small group did two laps around the Interstate 495 beltway through Maryland and Virginia as supporters looked on, “deliberately moving slowly to impact traffic and make their feelings known to lawmakers in the nation’s capitol,” the Associated Press reported.

“We’re not even sure we can call it a convoy anymore because it’s so dispersed among routine traffic at this point,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told The Washington Post.

D.C. authorities told AP on Sunday that they expect any further demonstrations to be isolated to the beltway.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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