SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Thousands of people stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to stop the election certification process. A much smaller group of Trump supporters gathered at the Illinois Capitol. However, this rally stayed peaceful compared to the chaotic events in Washington. About 75 people showed up to have their voices heard in Springfield, even though lawmakers weren’t in session.
People at this rally said their message isn’t centered on President Donald Trump anymore. Many explained they want fair elections, even though there’s no proof of election fraud from November.
Some people brought “Stop the Steal” signs while others held Trump flags and “Fire Pritzker” signs. A few of the supporters watched a live feed of the protests in Washington. The Capitol Bureau asked rally organizers if they supported violent protesters breaking into the nation’s capital.
“You know, it’s interesting that you mention that,” said an organizer who wished not to give her name. “Where’s been the uproar when they burnt down cities? All summer long they were burning down cities and there was no problem with that apparently. Do I think they should have breached the Capitol? I don’t know, I wasn’t there.”
She claimed people started to make threats towards her after organizing previous rallies to support President Trump.
“That’s the left. That’s how they roll.”
The organizer said this movement won’t die when President-elect Joe Biden is officially in office, as they have “awakened a sleeping giant.”
“Taking our country back”
Co-organizer Emily Cahill said she’s happy to see people rallying across the country.
“Well, now the patriots are waking up and we’re taking our country back,” Cahill added. “As you’ve seen in DC, they’ve stormed the Capitol and they are making their voices be heard. So, that’s what we’ll continue to fight for.”
Cahill said it wasn’t right for protesters to get violent in Washington, but she’s happy America is now listening to them. She feels lawmakers stopped the election certifying process because they heard the “patriot voices” outside their chamber. Authorities put the U.S. Capitol under lockdown due to the protest. Cahill mentioned that is a “mission accomplished.”
“If it continues this way, it is going to be on an even grander scale because more people are being confined by what’s going on in DC. And with the stimulus being so low, you’re seeing more people come out and be more active,” Cahill said. “So, it is going to grow throughout the years.”
Illinois leaders respond
Gov. JB Pritzker ordered Illinois State Police to increase security at the Capitol and Bank of Springfield Center as lawmakers return for session on Friday. He also called on Congress to impeach and remove Trump from office Wednesday night.
“I don’t make a statement like this lightly: Two weeks is too long for Donald Trump to remain in office, where he can continue to incite more untold violence,” Pritzker stated. “As the heart of our democracy was under siege and blood was literally being spilled in our most sacred halls, Donald Trump was praising the attackers. There are real questions about what efforts the President made to protect our Congress or what obstructions he committed that has prevented the ending of the siege.”
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul also released a statement in response to the attack on Congress.
“I will always support the right of the people to express their opinions through peaceful protest, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, but let us be clear: what we have witnessed today at the U.S. Capitol is not peaceful, it is not constitutionally-protected, and it is not a ‘protest.’ This violence is a criminal attack on our democracy,” Raoul said.