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Virginia National Guard troops in front of the U.S. Capitol building, Feb. 5, 2021. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

How the National Guard became the go-to military force for riots and civil disturbances

Some 5,000 National Guardsmen will stay in Washington to protect the Capitol into March, according to the Pentagon. The Guard is seen as a reliable peacekeeping force – but it wasn’t always that way.
The Proud Boys outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

US Capitol protesters, egged on by Trump, are part of a long history of white supremacists hearing politicians’ words as encouragement

The protests that ended in the storming of the US Capitol included members of white supremacy groups, the latest example of such groups being encouraged by politicians to challenge government.
Protesters at the Richmond, Virginia monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee on June 18, 2020. Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images

African Americans have long defied white supremacy and celebrated Black culture in public spaces

Protests of Confederate flags and monuments have grown since 2015, but resistance is not new. African Americans have been protesting against Confederate monuments since they were erected.
The Proud Boys outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

There’s a history of white supremacists interpreting government leaders’ words as encouragement

White supremacists’ protests against COVID-19 lockdowns reflect the US history of political leaders encouraging white supremacist groups to challenge or overthrow democratic governments.

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