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Weyermuller: Chicago endures a summer of protests and riots

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By Mark Weyermuller –

Saying this weekend in Chicago was total chaos might be an understatement. After the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, protests have taken place all over the country.

On Saturday night, downtown Chicago was hit hard with destruction and looting. I surveyed the damage on Sunday on Michigan Avenue, a major shopping district. I found hundreds of residents and tourists taking photos and expressing their disbelief. The media continues to refer to these as “peaceful protests.”  While many protesters wore masks few were practicing social distancing. Is the threat of COVID 19 still a concern? 

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There was heavy damage to stores that had taken down plywood in anticipation of reopening in the next phase this Wednesday that will include outdoor dining. Many stores were boarding up again Sunday along with building new wall systems to protect their businesses from further destruction.

Gibson’s Restaurant on Rush Street was preparing to open Wednesday with outside dining and street closures so they could add tables all over the street. Now they are completely boarded up.  Water Tower Place now has plywood walls around the whole structure. It looks much the way Florida looks prior to a hurricane.

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Sunday night was more peaceful downtown as streets were closing using city dump trucks along with all public transportation closed on the CTA and Metra. While the downtown area was protected, the looting moved to the neighborhoods and the suburbs. Many stores closed in the late afternoon in anticipation of trouble.

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On Saturday afternoon  a truly peaceful protest took place on the Gold Coast with just four people.  The protesters, calling for Illinois to re-open, started in front of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s residence, then traveled down the block to the Cardinal’s Mansion. Two Chicago police officers arrived saying it was illegal to protest at the Governor's private residence but only allowed at a place where he conducts state business. The group indicated he was working from home doing teleconferences so this was a place of business. The law cited was 720 ILCS 521/ 1-2. After some discussion, the group complied and moved to another location. 

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They finished up a couple blocks away at the lakefront where the beaches and bike trails are closed. They had a theme of reopening Illinois and that masks are not healthy. The group was engaged by many people both in support and opposition – especially to the mask issue. The group also says "All jobs are essential."

Last week, The World Health Organization issued this statement: “If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.”  Link to site here

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There is no end in site as the country and our city is in chaos. There has been much criticism of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in both the handling of COVID 19, the riots & looting, along with the whole reopening progress.
 
Many have questioned Lightfoot's dedication of 400 Chicago Officers and 300 traffic aides to guarding the lakefront from healthy joggers, bikers, boaters, fishermen and dog walkers. Those officers could be at retail stores, malls, and even at nursing homes where one-half of the COVID 19 deaths are occurring.
 
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Also many wonder where Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has been to discuss arrests of these offenders who many are calling domestic terrorists. The media has done little reporting of names of the people arrested, where they live, and what groups with whom they are connected. Much of the looting appeared highly organized – even with the use of rental trucks to haul off stolen merchandise.
 
We will be following up on more reporting here in Chicago this week.
 
The chaos needs to end now! 
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Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist, frequent guest on talk radio, and regular contributor to Illinois Review. 
 

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