Pritzker Actives More IL National Guard, State Capitol Boarded Up In Precaution of Possible Armed Protests for Biden Inauguration

By Benjamin Cox on January 16, 2021 at 8:43am

Statehouse windows being boarded up ahead of possible protests over the weekend. (Courtesy of Aaron Brown/WICS)

Governor J.B. Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. The State Capitol Building also had heavy sheets of plywood going up over lower-level windows yesterday as precautions in response to FBI warnings of threats to capital cities all around the country.

In a release statement by the Secretary of State’s Office yesterday, the Secretary of State Police along with other law enforcement are fully aware of possible marches on state capitols. Press Secretary Henry Haupt said in the statement that they cannot divulge staffing levels or security protocols. Haupt told the Journal Courier that no permits were requested or issued for potential demonstrations.

Pritzker activated 100 extra members of the National Guard at the behest of the Department of Defense. They will join 200 previously activated members in the nation’s capital ahead of the inauguration ceremony. The remaining 150 members will remain in the state to assist local and state law enforcement in enforcing street closures and designated perimeters. Pritzker says the guard is also there to protect First Amendment rights: “Together, there mission is to safeguard the right to peaceful protest and to protect the residents of Illinois from anything to the contrary.”

FBI Director Chris Wray said Thursday that the FBI is tracking significant online chatter about intentional violence More than 100 people have been arrested or charged since the riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. On January 6th. The FBI is currently operating round-the-clock command posts at each of its 56 headquarters throughout the country to coordinate if simultaneous attacks happen next week.

Illinois Central Management Services in a memo yesterday also has encouraged employees to work remotely starting tomorrow through Wednesday due to anticipated protests in Springfield this coming week.