Illinois prepares for possible violence leading up to Inauguration, remains calm Saturday

By Keaton Yates and George Wiebe

Following a memo released by the FBI, Gov. JB Pritzker called 250 members of the Illinois National Guard into Springfield in case of riots leading up to President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. However this Saturday was notably calm and only three demonstrators, who are regulars at the Capitol, showed up.

The FBI recently released a memo warning of potential violence and protests at all 50 state Capitols following the Jan. 6 insurrection and leading up to Biden’s Inauguration.

(See more: Springfield Capitol boards up, police take extra precautions in case of riots)

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Workers at the Capitol building began boarding windows with plywood on Jan. 16, and signs were placed around the Capitol reminding citizens that the open carry of firearms is prohibited in the state.

Police could be seen around the Illinois Supreme Court, the Capitol, the Abraham Lincoln museum, the Governor’s mansion and other areas downtown.

Prior to the riot in D.C., Back the Blue, a nonprofit organization supporting law enforcement and first responders, had been providing COVID-19 relief and protesting the recently signed police reform bill that ends cash bail and mandates body cams on officers. 

Ashley Ramos, one of the members of Back the Blue, explained the purpose of the organization was to “rebuild relationships” between police and their communities. 

On any other day Ramos said, COVID-19 relief signups would have been available along with food donations. 

“We didn’t bring anything today because we didn’t want any excuse for people to think that we had things that could potentially be harmful,” Ramos said.

Only three organizers of Back the Blue went to the Capitol to protest. 

Ramos explained the low turnout was because she asked other Back the Blue supporters not to attend.

“If something violent were to happen here it would not be the people who come here with us and we didn’t want anyone to potentially get injured or caught in the middle of something else,” Ramos said.

Staff reporter George Wiebe can be reached at [email protected]

Staff reporter Keaton Yates can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @keatsians.

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