Lightfoot’s announcement came at a Saturday evening press conference just about a half-hour before the curfew was set to go into effect. Shortly after the press conference, an emergency alert about the curfew was sent via cellphones throughout the city.
Until further notice, Chicagoans are not to be on the city streets between 9 PM and 6 AM with the exemption of essential workers. The curfew is meant to help police, who are facing massive protests, particularly in the Downtown area. Lightfoot said they’d be able to use the curfew to “clean out and clear out” Downtown.
The curfew comes as a result of escalated violence seen after peaceful protests that took place in downtown Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot expressed her “total disgust” at the number of protesters “who came to today’s protest armed for an all-out battle.” Lightfoot added, “You don’t come to a peaceful protest with a bowling ball or a hammer … I’m here to call you out.”
“I applaud the vast majority of the individuals who came here to make true and lasting change peacefully, but to the rest of you, I’m here to call you out for your recklessness and for your obscene disrespect to the righteous cause you are trying to hijack.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s imposed curfew comes on the heels of the killing of an African American Man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The city has seen people confronting police officers and damaging squad cars by jumping on it. The pain surrounding the 2014 shooting of teenager LaQuan McDonald at the hands of the Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke is fresh in many Chicagoan minds.
“To be clear, I’ve marched in a few protests in my day, but neither I nor anyone that I was with saw the need to bring weapons to lift our voice and express our First Amendment rights,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
There have been police clashes in other cities like Atlanta, New York, Phoenix, and Houston. Mayor Lightfoot said there was no talk of bringing in the National Guard, as seen in other U.S. cities.