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Massachusetts governor activates 1,000 National Guard members to maintain public safety at 'large-scale events'

Massachusetts governor activates 1,000 National Guard members to maintain public safety at 'large-scale events'
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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Thursday issued an executive order calling for the activation of 1,000 members of the state’s National Guard amid protests against this week's grand jury decision to announce no charges in the death of Breonna Taylor.

The governor wrote in the order that the activation was intended “to provide necessary assistance to State and local civilian authorities and/or special duty and emergency assistance for the preservation of life and property, preservation of order, and to afford protection to persons."

A spokesperson for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said in a statement to Boston’s State House News Service that the order was issued "in the event that municipal leaders require assistance to protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights and to maintain public safety during large scale events.” 

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Baker said in the order that it will remain in place “until further order of the Adjutant General.” 

He signed a similar executive order in late August, calling for the same number of National Guard troops “in the event that municipal leaders” needed assistance amid protests following the police shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. 

Baker also previously called the National Guard after violence erupted at racial justice protests in May following the Minneapolis Police killing of 46-year-old Black man George Floyd. According to the Boston Herald, several Boston businesses were looted and a police cruiser was set on fire during the May demonstrations. 

Boston ABC News affiliate WCVB reported that demonstrators gathered peacefully on Wednesday calling for justice for Taylor ahead of the governor’s executive order. 

Taylor was shot multiple times by police during a drug raid on her home in March. Charges were brought against only one of the three officers involved and do not specifically relate to her death.

The Boston Herald reported Thursday that five protests are planned to be held in Boston this weekend. The largest one is planned for Friday evening, with approximately 800 people indicating on social media they would be attending.