Guard units were seen stationed in front of Los Angeles City Hall and were expected to assist police in Santa Monica where looting was happening blocks from a protest.
The guard was deployed after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for all of Los Angeles County, which saw protests over the death of George Floyd turn violent, with officers injured and stores looted and vandalized on Saturday.
Mayor Eric Garcetti requested their deployment "to maintain peace and safety on the streets of our city" after he issued a rare citywide curfew that expired as dawn revealed broken window shops, demolished security gates and graffiti along entire blocks.
Garcetti said Saturday he asked Gov. Newsom for 500 to 700 members of the Guard to assist the 10,000 Los Angeles Police Department officers.
The vehicles were seen moving through the streets of Los Angeles in the early morning hours. Some were seen parked at the Convention Center in downtown. It's unclear how long they would remain on alert.
Some guard troops also arrived at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. The base, which is operated by the National Guard, was also used to deploy troops during the Watts Riots in 1965 and the Los Angeles Riots in 1992.
The scale of the destruction in Los Angeles was being compared to the 1992 riots, when there was more than $1 billion in property damage. There was no estimate of how many businesses suffered damage since protests began Wednesday, but it was clearly extensive.
The governor said earlier that authorities were closely monitoring organizing by violent extremist groups who may be trying to use the protests for their own agendas.
"To those who seek to exploit Californians' pain to sow chaos and destruction, you are not welcome," he said. "Our state and nation must build from this moment united and more resolved than ever to address racism and its root causes."
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.