CHICAGO — The city will send hundreds of trucks and has partnered with security teams to protect commercial corridors in the neighborhoods this weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.
The mayor, speaking during a press conference, said more than 300 trucks from various city departments will be directed to about 175 commercial corridors in various communities “to provide strategic traffic support.”
And the city has partnered with more than 100 security providers, who will have staff “placed strategically alongside the corridors … to enhance security in these communities.”
The moves are part of “an effort to prevent the widespread violence and destruction we’ve seen” in recent days, Lightfoot said. She said her team had talked to community leaders, residents and others about what would be needed this weekend.
The city will also keep its 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew over the weekend, and the Chicago Police Department continues to have officers working 12-hour shifts without days off.
The Downtown area will also have road closures this weekend, Lightfoot said, and the CTA will have service interruptions.
Chicago was rocked by looting, vandalism and violence last weekend and at the beginning of the week, though it’s slowed down in recent days and businesses have begun to rebuild.
The unrest came amid large — and mostly peaceful — protests over the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis. Officials, including Lightfoot, have said people used the protests as cover to loot and vandalize businesses.
More protests are planned for this weekend, and officials are worried they could turn violent or could be used by others as cover for violence and destruction.
The city will open Grant Park and Union Park to protesters “to support our residents wishing to express their outrage and righteous pain over the murder of George Floyd,” Lightfoot said. “We want to make sure that you have the space to lift your voices and make yourself heard.”
Lightfoot said she wants Chicagoans to express themselves — but to find a way to do it peacefully and with respect to their neighbors’ rights and property.
“… What I don’t want is for us to focus and to turn away from really what’s most important in this moment,” Lightfoot said. “The fact of George Floyd’s murder, captured on video, was painful to everyone. Of course, painful for his family to have to bear witness to his killing, painful for the residents of Minneapolis and the entire state of Minnesota, but painful for us here in Chicago and across the country.
“It brought up painful memories of others who have died at the hands of police violence both in this city and across the country. That’s important that we not lose sight of why we’re here, why so many people in Chicago and across the country are lifting up their voices to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ and rightfully so.”
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