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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Calls In National Guard After Chaotic Night Of Protesting In Chicago

By Colby Smith

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Calls In National Guard After Chaotic Night Of Protesting In Chicago

240 protestors were arrested in downtown Chicago yesterday (Sat., May 30)

In addition to setting a citywide curfew, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has requested the aid of the National Guard after some factions of Saturday’s protests resulted in violence and looting.

“In addition to our 9 pm – 6 am curfew that will remain in place until further notice, Governor Pritzker —at my request— has ordered a small contingent of the National Guard to maintain a limited presence and support our police in order to ensure we don’t have a repeat of last night,” the mayor wrote on Twitter.

In response to the mayor’s request, Gov. JB Pritzker deployed 375 Illinois National Guard soldiers to the City of Chicago.

Lightfoot said that she faced the decision to order in the National Guard with much difficulty:

“The decisions I’ve had to make in the last 24 hours are not decisions I’d wish on any leader. I know many people are feeling scared and unsettled. But I make no apologies that I will always going to make a tough choice if it means protecting our people.”

The presence of the National Guard, Lightfoot hopes, will prevent further destructive protests and unrest.

“This is an immensely challenging moment for our city, our state, and our country, one born from decades and centuries of systemic racism,” said Governor Pritzker in a statement. “To those peacefully expressing the pain, fear, and rage of this moment, I hear you. Your voices matter. We must address the profound injustices in our society and bring about real and meaningful change.”

During the Saturday’s protests, the Chicago Police Department made 240 arrests. 20 officers were injured in the line of duty.

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This morning, the city closed off expressway ramps, including: 1-90 northbound and southbound to Ohio, I-94 northbound to Congress, and I-290 eastbound to congress. Additionally, the city closed six streets to minimize access to the Loop, reserving them solely for employees and residents of the area.

Those streets include: Canal Street from Kinzie Street to 26th Street; Division Street from Lake Shore Drive and North Halsted Street; Milwaukee Avenue from Grand Avenue to Kinzie Street; North Halsted from Division Street to Milwaukee Avenue and Grand Avenue; and 26th Street from Canal Street to Lake Shore Drive.

“The Guard will carry out a limited mission to help manage street closures and will not interfere with peaceful protestors exercising their First Amendment rights,” read a statement from Gov. Pritzker’s office.

“Chicago is strong. This is our home. This is the city we built… We know it’s not perfect but if it gets destroyed we are all left to pick up the pieces. Here in Chicago, we care for each another. We have seen that over and over again. This is a time for us to unite.”

[Featured image: @revonyousif]