At the request of the Department of Defense, an additional 100 Illinois National Guard members have been activated ahead of Wednesday’s presidential inauguration in Washington, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday.
According to an updated press release from the governor’s office, the 100 additional members of the Guard will join another 200 individuals who have already been activated by Pritzker.
“Following the violent siege at our nation’s capital 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,” Pritzker said in a statement. “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.”
Last week, the FBI issued a memo pointing to possible armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C. ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
The memo reported that protests could begin as early as Jan. 16, and says an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C. the same day and stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official.
Illinois National Guard members were officially activated last week to protect the inauguration in Washington, along with 250 members who were activated to help law enforcement in Springfield ahead of the inauguration.
On Saturday, only a handful of protesters were on hand in Springfield, according to NBC 5’s Phil Rogers.
The Guard is assisting the Illinois State Police, the Secretary of State police and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in the capital in the event of any unrest. According to the governor’s office, “the role of the soldiers is to aid local authorities in enforcing street closures and designated perimeters” during their activation.
In Chicago, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications says it will activate the city’s emergency operations center for the presidential inauguration next week as a precautionary measure.