CHICAGO (CBS) — City Hall and the Cook County Building will be closed to the public on Wednesday, in an effort “to ensure public safety on Inauguration Day.”
Last week, the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in all 50 U.S. capital cities, and although small groups of armed protesters gathered outside capitol buildings in a handful of states over the weekend, there were no reports of any clashes.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup
City and county officials said they are not aware of any activity planned in Chicago and the Cook County suburbs during the inauguration.
“The closure of City Hall and the Cook County Building is a purely precautionary measure and we anticipate the City of Chicago and suburban Cook County will remain peaceful,” the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications and the county’s Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security said in a statement.
Meantime, the city also will activate its Emergency Operations Center at OEMC on Wednesday to coordinate the response to any events that might arise on inauguration day.
“OEMC along with the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and the City’s infrastructure departments are prepared to take protective action and will continue to monitor the situation. Any adjustments will be made as warranted,” OEMC said in a statement.
City and county officials urged anyone who notices suspicious activity to call 911.READ MORE: Northwestern Alums Create 'The Seeker,' A Highly Accurate Football Thrower They Call A Robotic QB
Meanwhile, Illinois State Police said the Thompson Center, the George W. Dunne Cook County Office Building at 69 W. Washington St., and the Stevens Building at 17 N. State St. — which houses some Illinois Secretary of State’s Office facilities — will also be closed on Wednesday out of an abundance of caution.
In Springfield, the Illinois Capitol Complex will also be closed.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide have stepped up security plans for inauguration day after a mob of extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, as Congress was in session, temporarily interrupting a vote confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Tens of thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed to Washington, D.C., to join thousands of police officers and federal agents preparing to secure the nation’s capital during the inauguration. That includes at least 300 members of the Illinois National Guard.
In the aftermath of the riot at the Capitol building, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asked the federal government to reassess security. They’re adding reinforcements and imposing a larger, earlier, lockdown around the White House, Capitol and National Mall. An exclusion zone of seven-foot fences and military roadblocks was rushed in six days sooner than planned.
At least 25,000 members of the National Guard are being deployed—more troops in Washington than in wars overseas. Their gear includes shields for COVID and combat.MORE NEWS: Cariacature Artist, Substitute Teacher Says She Keeps Trying To Reach Illinois Unemployment Office -- Only To Have Calls Dropped
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