Protesters who want Gov. J.B. Pritzker to announce a plan to reopen the Illinois economy have scheduled a Friday rally outside the Thompson Center in the Loop.
“Illinois residents have tolerated the government’s plan for over a month — without a plan on how to slowly and safely reopen the state’s economy,” a news release announcing the event states. “We need to discuss the process of cautiously returning back to work.”
The Friday demonstration would be the latest in a series of protests around the country against stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
It follows a Sunday event where a small group of protesters holding “Don’t tread on me” flags and chanting “Open Illinois!” demonstrated outside the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
Asked about lawsuits against Pritzker to end the stay-at-home order and the planned Friday downtown rally, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday said it only makes sense to start easing the restrictions when evidence shows the state is getting the outbreak under control.
“The notion that we are going to open up before the data and the science tell us that we’re ready is really foolish, and we would be putting lives at risk to do so,” Lightfoot said. “I’m very mindful of what’s happening in other states that haven’t taken the steps that we have taken here in Illinois. And what are we seeing? We’re seeing a doubling of cases at an unbelievable rate, even six weeks into this crisis. So I feel very comfortable about the steps that have been taken here. As far as Chicago, we’re staying the course.”
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The Loop event is being organized by Freedom Movement USA, which on its website describes itself as “a group of like-minded Republican activists.” The organization has held pro-President Donald Trump rallies in other parts of the state.
The Thompson Center event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will feature several speakers, according to the Freedom Movement USA release.
There’s also a change.org petition launched by frequent political candidate William Kelly to seek signatures in support of recalling Pritzker.
A similar rally is planned for noon on Friday in Springfield.
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