The Texas Army National Guard said Monday that it had been ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to dispatch 1,000 troops to five major cities across the state, including Austin, in connection with the election.
Troops could be deployed to Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio as soon as this weekend, the San Antonio Express News reported.
"The Texas Military Department was activated to provide additional support to the Department of Public Safety in the summer of 2020," Maj. Gen. Tracy R. Norris, the Adjutant General of Texas, said in a statement emailed to Austonia. "Texas Service Members continue to support DPS in this capacity, guarding historical landmarks such as the Alamo and the State Capitol. To be clear, there has been no request nor any plan to provide any type of support at any polling location in Texas."
Austin Mayor Steve Adler was not immediately available for comment.
Local police and city leaders said earlier this month that they are preparing for November protests.
"The Austin Police Department will plan and prepare for any large protest or civil unrest events related to the upcoming elections," spokesperson Tara Long said in an email to Austonia. "The goal of such preparations is to ensure the safety of the community, while protecting the rights of people to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights."
Austinites marched through the city on the day after the November 2016 election to protest Donald Trump's victory in spite of the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. And tens of thousands descended on downtown Austin in January 2017, on the day after Trump's inauguration, in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington.
More recently, Austinites have protested police violence and the death of George Floyd. Although most of the protests have been peaceful, one in July ended in the shooting death of armed demonstrator Garrett Foster.
Some attendees at a memorial for Foster showed up heavily armed, including members of the Proud Boys militia, a right-wing extremist group.
Texas Guard members were deployed to the state Capitol, as well as other locations, during these protests.
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