SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Friday, Illinois Gov. JB Prtizker activated 250 members of the National Guard in response to warnings of armed protests leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
“Following the violent siege at our nation’s capitol and reports from federal law enforcement on threats to state capitals, I am bringing all resources to bear to protect our residents and our democratic process,” said Pritzker. “Our exemplary members of the Illinois National Guard will be working closely with our State Police as well as local and federal authorities to keep our capital city safe. We will continue to be fully transparent with the public on any new information and the steps we are taking to respond.”
On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigations issued an intelligence bulletin pointing to the potential of armed protests at all 50 state capitals.
“As with recent previous deployments, the Illinois State Police will work side by side with the Illinois National Guard and our local partners to execute our mission of protecting the democratic process,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.
The Illinois National Guard says it will not interfere with peaceful protestors exercising their first amendment rights. The role of the soldiers is to aide local authorities in enforcing street closures and designated perimeters.
“Our Soldiers and Airmen come from every community across Illinois and each has sworn to protect their communities, their state and their nation,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard. “We draw our strength from our communities and are proud to serve in our communities.”