At a Memorial Day rally in front of Buckingham Fountain, a crowd protested Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order as an affront to the freedoms that service members have died defending. The well-received speeches, though, frequently veered into plugs for online learning courses or political futures.
State Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who is locked in a legal battle with the governor over the order, urged onlookers to get involved in their local government and flood the phone lines of their elected officials.
The crowd, which held signs saying “F-U-J-B” and “Fire Pritzker,” called on Bailey to run for governor. He told the audience it was “time to replace career RINOs,” a pejorative term for Republicans who aren’t considered conservative enough.
“If God opens a door, I’ll go through that door,” Bailey said as the crowd erupted in cheers. “But it’s going to take a lot of work.”
Bailey, who was removed from the House floor last week for refusing to wear a mask in violation of a bipartisan rule, also insisted he held a fondness for Chicago, which runs counter to his previous statements. He did not, for example, mention that he has supported efforts to separate the city from the rest of the state.
“I love Chicago, it’s part of Illinois,” he said. “But sometimes when you raise a wayward child, you have to discipline that child.”
The event was organized by Anthony Delmedico, an Arizona-based entrepreneur, who promoted the event as part of a documentary called "Unconstitutional." He has predicted pandemic-related lockdowns soon will be viewed as “the biggest blunder in American History.”
At several points during the rally, Chicago police officers wearing face masks asked unmasked protesters to maintain 6 feet of social distance. One such request, repeated over a bullhorn by organizers, was met with boos and demands for police to arrest them if they didn’t like it.
Officers dispersed the protest, with the police department citing public health concerns in a statement.
“While we worked to ensure the First Amendment rights of those participating in today’s march, the organizers and participants were not practicing social distancing or abiding by the public health guidelines outlined in the stay-at-home order. Therefore, for the health and safety of all residents involved in the rally, the Chicago Police Department issued a dispersal of the crowd and ordered the organizers to shut down the event," the statement read.
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