National Guard called out for Chicago, protests across the state

A screen capture of WCIA's livestream showing the protest at Champaign's Market Place Mall.

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Sunday that he was sending 375 Illinois National Guard troops to Chicago at the request of the mayor.

Chicago saw fires and clashes with the police on Saturday night, the most violent in the state, but not the only protest taking place.

“At the request of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, I am activating the Illinois National Guard to support the City of Chicago in protecting our communities and keeping people safe,” Pritzker said. “This is an immensely challenging moment for our city, our state, and our country, one born from decades and centuries of systemic racism. 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.”

In a statement, the governor said the troops would have a “limited mission to help manage street closures and will not interfere with peaceful protesters exercising their first amendment rights.”

While Chicago got much of the national attention, there has been unrest in other Illinois cities.

WCIA-TV in Champaign reported that there has been broken windows and looting at the Market Place Mall on Sunday afternoon. A protest over George Floyd’s killing started at the mall at around 3 p.m.

Video broadcast by the station showed a large crowd shouting “No justice, no peace,” at the mall’s parking lot. The reporter on the scene said there had been no violence. However, the protesters were facing police in riot gear.

WCIA also reported that a fire had been started at a East Peoria Lowe’s store where a protest was taking place in the parking lot. A protest was also taking place at Danville’s public safety building and a march took place in Springfield on Sunday.