FURGUSON, MO — Following a week of clashes between police and citizens, Governor Jay Nixon has signed an executive order deploying Missouri National Guard soldiers to descend upon Ferguson to restrict travel, assist law enforcement, and face off against protesters and criminals. The order bears significance as the first time the National Guard has been ordered to quell civil unrest since 1992 in Los Angeles.
Executive Order 14-09 follows another order from earlier this week, which declared Missouri to be under a State of Emergency and granted extraordinary powers to law enforcement, including the imposition of a mandatory curfew. [UPDATE: The curfew was abandoned on August 18th.]
“Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard… in restoring peace and order to this community,” Nixon said in a statement.
According to the order, troops will be tasked with “restricting and/or closing streets and thoroughfares in the City of Ferguson” and provide other assistance “as may be authorized and directed by the Governor of this state.”
This week’s executive actions have enabled the cordoning off of parts of the city and the restriction of civilian travel and public assembly, to be enforced in part by military personnel.
Officials say the extreme measures are necessary because of the faction of violent criminal element that refuses to stop looting and provoking police.
The introduction of soldiers into the fray does not elicit images of peace, given that the police themselves have already been quite violent during a week of various conflicts, using generous amounts of teargas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.