Gov. Brian Kemp has authorized a call-up of up to 3,000 Georgia National Guard troops to police “several planned protests” May 31 anywhere in the state.

Kemp made the announcement as a second night of protests and rioting continued in Atlanta following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The protest movement spread across the metro area, with demonstrations in Sandy Springs and Gainesville.

Georgia National Guard troops line up on West Paces Ferry Road near the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead May 30 as protesters begin to gather. (Governor’s Office)

Kemp previously authorized 500 National Guard troops for the Atlanta riots and on May 30 they were stationed at a fortified Lenox Square mall in Buckhead.

As of the early morning hours of May 31, protests were continuing in downtown Atlanta, while a demonstration outside the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead appeared to have ended after several arrests were made. Kemp’s office issued a photo showing National Guard troops lining up on West Paces Ferry Road to police the Governor’s Mansion earlier in the day.

The small statute and youthful appearance of some National Guard troops at Lenox Square drew attention on social media, as they appeared to be children or teenagers. A National Guard spokesperson was unable to identify the specific soldiers but said that people as young as 17 can serve in the Guard.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.