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Pritzker: State prepared for possible protests at Democrats convention

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(The Center Square) – Those preparing for this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago say protesting will be allowed, but to a point.

In an interview with CNN Sunday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said this summer’s convention won’t be a repeat of the violent 1968 convention and they will be prepared for any protests. Pritzker stressed that groups gathering in Chicago this August will be allowed to protest.

“Look, we believe in free speech, and we’re going to allow people to protest and say whatever it is they want to say,” he continued. “But the reality is, we’re also going to make sure that people have ingress and egress and that they’re safe in our state.”

There are concerns about protests regarding the Israel-Hamas war like the recent incident when hundreds shutdown access to O’Hare International Airport.

During a recent Anti-Defamation League news conference in Springfield, state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, said those protesters went too far.

“They crossed the line of free speech to the disruption of millions of people at O’Hare Airport,” said Morgan.

Pritzker noted that Chicago Police dispersed the groups quicker than any other protests in the country.

“Our Chicago Police Department was able to get those folks off the highway faster than any other city in the United States,” he said. “And they’re prepared for the Democratic Convention.”

Multiple demonstrations are expected, including those organized by the Coalition to March on the event’s first day Aug. 19.

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling said protests will be tolerated as long as participants are law abiding.

“As long as what you’re doing is rooted by the First Amendment, not only are we going to allow you to do it, but we’re going to protect your rights and protect you while you do it, but what we’re not going to tolerate is violence, we’re not going to tolerate vandalism and looting,” said Snelling.

The DNC will take place Aug. 19-22.