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Gov. Pritzker activates Illinois National Guard to assist with protests in Chicago

The soldiers will manage street closures and will not interfere with protests, the governor's office said in a Sunday press release
Credit: AP
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that three more people have died in the state from from Covid-19 virus, two Illinois residents and one woman visiting from Florida, during a news conference Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO, Illinois — Gov. Pritzker has activated 375 Illinois National Guard soldiers at the request of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to assist with protests over the death of George Floyd.

The soldiers will assist the Chicago Police Department by helping manage street closures and will not interfere with protests, the governor's office said in a Sunday release.

“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 in the release. 

“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.”

On Saturday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in response to "civil unrest" from protests over the death of George Floyd.

“Violence and destruction are not the answers,” Parson said. “I support those who are calling for justice and peace. However, a small element has seized on these peaceful demonstrations to commit violent acts that endanger the lives of citizens and bring destruction to our communities. This violence not only threatens public safety and destroys economic opportunity; it drowns out the voices of the peaceful demonstrators calling for justice and working to improve our nation.” 

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