The city of Chicago is punishing the working class for protesting the murder of George Floyd.
After a weekend of escalating violence at the hands of the Chicago Police Department, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked Gov. JB Pritzker to send in 375 National Guard troops. They, along with the police, have commandeered Chicago Transit Authority buses to get around the city. They’re staging in the parking lot in front of the Chicago White Sox stadium, armored Jeeps and riot gear at the ready.
On Saturday night, at 8:33 p.m., while protests were still raging downtown, the mayor announced a curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Lightfoot also ordered the Chicago Department of Transportation to raise the bridges that connect downtown Chicago to its adjacent neighborhoods, effectively trapping protesters downtown and making them easy targets for police violence.
At 5:52 p.m. on Sunday night, the mayor announced that all bus and train lines would stop running at 6:30 p.m. Pharmacies across the city received orders to close on Sunday afternoon, leaving people in need of prescriptions with no recourse. We’re hearing rumors of hospital outpatient centers closing.
As of Monday morning, public transportation continues to be nearly completely shut down, with only a few train lines far from the city center running. Chicagoans, including essential workers, have no way to get around the city if they need to today.
Chicago Public Schools has suspended its meal distribution program, leaving thousands of families who depend on this service to their own devices. The program has distributed more than 12.5 million meals since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of children will go hungry.
Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, alluded in a Monday morning press conference that the city’s reopening — already postponed to mid-June — is likely to be further postponed. The 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in place until further notice. The pandemic is providing the city the cover it needs to continue to crack down on its residents.