National Guard Troops Deployed
In Nation's Capitol

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For the first time since the 1968 riots sparked by the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., National Guard troops on Friday night began helping protect the Capitol.
Having finally resolved a number of procedural matters and related details, members of the District of Columbia National Guard took their posts on the outer perimeter of the complex about a day later than initially planned.
``We have worked things out,'' said Lt. Dan Nichols, spokesman for the Capitol Police. ``They were deputized by the Metropolitan Police Department this morning and are ready to go.''
Overall, about 100 members of the guard will augment 1,200 U.S. Capitol Police officers who have worked six- and seven-day weeks since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
Security was bolstered following those assaults and again after a letter containing anthrax was opened on Oct. 15 in the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat.
Capitol Police requested help from the National Guard weeks ago. But it took time to win the approval of a variety of groups and individuals, including congressional leaders and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The Guard had been set to report to duty outside the Capitol on Thursday night, but just hours before a snag was hit. The city government advised U.S. Capitol Police that it had concerns regarding liability issues if the city deputized the D.C. National Guard to act as special police officers.


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