Gov. Charlie Baker signed an order Thursday activating 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard due to possible protests and demonstrations.
The governor's office said the National Guard was activated in case municipal leaders require assistance "to protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights and to maintain public safety during large scale events." They said National Guard personnel are only deployed at the request of cities and towns requesting support.
The governor's order said he chose to activate the guard "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."
The activation includes "up to" 1,000 guardsmen. It begins Thursday and continues until further order.
Baker last activated the National Guard in August for a period of three days in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The call-up coincided with a weekend that saw large demonstrations over policing and racial justice in other parts of the country.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Numerous demonstrations have also taken place across the country over the past 24 hours in the wake of Wednesday's decision not to charge officers for killing Breonna Taylor.
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers after one of them was shot while bursting into her home during a narcotics investigation in March in Louisville, Kentucky. The state attorney general said the investigation showed officers were acting in self-defense when they responded to gunfire from Taylor's boyfriend.
Several peaceful protests have also been held in Massachusetts, including one in Boston on Wednesday night.