Pritzker declares disaster in nine counties, mobilizes more National Guard troops, calls ‘for calm and peace in our streets’

“We live in some extraordinary and difficult moments now. During my lifetime, I have not seen this,” Pritzker said Monday.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference at the Thompson Center on Monday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference at the Thompson Center on Monday.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday declared Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will and four downstate counties disaster areas to allow him to mobilize Illinois National Guard troops and other state resources needed for areas wracked by looting and vandalism that recalled the tumultuous days of the 1960s.

“We live in some extraordinary and difficult moments now. During my lifetime, I have not seen this. I was very young in 1968,” Pritzker said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

“This has something to do about leadership in the nation. When you don’t have national leaders who are bringing down the temperature in situations like this, it tends to fan the flames,” he said.

“We will meet the challenge. We have the capability to meet the challenge. The people of Illinois have the capability. And again, I would ask people to step up and call for calm and peace in our streets.”

Pritzker praised the performance of 375 members of the Illinois NationalGuard who joined local law enforcement in Chicago to assist with street closures on Sunday and Monday.

“We implemented stringent parameterson their mission and use of force, includingno interference with peaceful protesters expressing their first amendmentrights,” he said.

And after receiving additional requests from communities across the state, more guard troops are being called up, he said.

“We have now called up an additional 250 members of the Illinois National Guard to be ready to assist other cities across the state that have faced a surge of destructive action, notably looting, over the last 24 hours,” he said.

The disaster proclamation the governor signed on Monday named nine counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will in the Chicago area; Champaign, Macon and Sangamon in central Illinois and Madison in the Metro East area.

The state’s emergency operationscenter in Springfield is monitoring requests from various municipalities for help, the governor said.

Pritzker also said an additional 300 state police troopers will be deployed to support local law enforcement outside Chicago “where departments are running thin.”

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