AUS cities brace for civil unrest during and after Election Day, as the specter of turmoil hangs over a divided nation and President Trump plans to declare an untimely victory Tuesday night if he is ‘early’ , despite the number of uncounted ballots.
Some urban areas bracing for chaos include Minneapolis, where clashes erupted this summer after the murder of George Floyd, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, shot dead two protesters and injured a third, during of a fiery demonstration against the police shoot Jacob Blake.
The town of Kenosha – where Trump has a final campaign rally scheduled for Monday night – has announced it will be installing police at town hall and at polling stations.
In New York City, upscale Manhattan stores also braced themselves for political protests and potential looting by covering windows with plywood, even as Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was not ordering homeowners business to do so. “We have no specific reports or specific threats at this point,” de Blasio said on Monday. “Everyone, of course, is concerned about the election results and what happens afterwards.”
Indeed, the results of a recent USA today/ A Suffolk University poll found that 3 in 4 voters worried about violence on election day, while only 1 in 4 were “very confident” that they would see a peaceful transfer of power if the Democrat Joe Biden was beating Trump.
The story was similar elsewhere in the country: Walmart pulled guns and ammunition off its shelves days before the election before turning the tide; Beverly Hills cops to lockout Rodeo Drive; the federal government plans to erect a massive fence around the White House; and the Department of Justice sends prison guards to Washington, DC to control crowds.
Officials in Denver, Colo., Have created a police command post specifically for potential post-election violence. “Election night isn’t really my concern; it’s after election night that I’m worried, ”Murphy Robinson, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Safety, said last week. Denver Post.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said her city has been bracing for protests and election-related unrest since the summer. Plans to combat violence include increased police patrols and the use of dump trucks and other heavy vehicles as blockades.
“Regardless of the results of [the] elections, we all know emotions will be strong because they already are, and I urge you to channel those emotions into peaceful and productive expressions, ”Lightfoot said at a press conference last week.
Several states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, have adopted the National Guard to help local election officials or stay on hold. In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers said 400 troops would be deployed – as plainclothes tellers – due to a staffing shortage as COVID-19 ravages the state of the battlefield.
Trump made a final visit to Wisconsin on Monday at the Kenosha Regional Airport. Hours before the rally, Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian told reporters he was concerned the Trump event would only spread the virus.
Just two months ago, Kenosha was in flames after a Kenosha cop shot Blake, an unarmed black man, seven times and paralyzed him. Some companies have closed their buildings following the violent protests and kept barriers in place ahead of the elections.
Kenosha officials told The Associated Press they feared armed civilians like Rittenhouse could return if there is unrest around the results. “I will always be concerned about violence. But at this point it’s all speculation, ”Kenosha County Supervisory Board member Andy Berg told the AP.
In a statement to the Daily Beast, Antaramian said the city will be deploying police to city hall and polling stations.
“Election night is not really my concern; It is after election night that I worry.“
“The safety of Kenosha residents, visitors and business owners remains our top priority, and we are working closely with the Police Department and our Kenosha County government counterparts to ensure that appropriate measures are in place. security, ”Antaramian said. “The police will be at the town hall and will monitor each polling station.
“We ask everyone to remain peaceful, and if anyone has any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us,” the mayor concluded.
Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, residents shared photos on social media of businesses boarding their facades and companies boarding up their properties. Police and city officials say they have built an emergency plan and stay alert for “future hot spots” as they increase law enforcement presence.
“As at any time when activity may be higher than normal in Minneapolis, the police presence is increased. The election is no different, ”the city said in a statement. “Throughout election week, a multi-agency law enforcement operation will be in place in Minneapolis and the metro area. The Minneapolis Police Department works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners. “
“Law enforcement personnel will be highly visible in business corridors and throughout the city to prevent and respond quickly to any act of civil unrest or illegal actions that threaten the safety of our residents and businesses while preserving the First Amendment right to free speech, ”The statement continued.
John Elder, Director of Police Intelligence, added: “We are aware of possible current and future hot spots that present challenges both locally and nationally. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at the local, regional and federal levels to adequately respond to situations as they unfold.
“Additionally, we keep the lines of communication open with the communities we serve and work with all we can to ensure that 1st Amendment rights are preserved and provide a safe environment for all,” Elder said in a statement. . “We continue to plan for the worst and hope for the best!”
Sarah McKenzie, a city spokeswoman, said election officials would deploy a “sergeant-at-arms” to every polling site in Minneapolis to “help ensure an orderly voting process.” She noted that these monitors are not law enforcement and do not carry weapons.
“We keep planning for the worst and hoping for the best“
The death of Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis cop knelt on his neck for nine minutes, sparked a nationwide movement to dismantle or dismantle U.S. police departments over their deadly encounters with people colored.
In Minneapolis, city councilors have waged a high-profile campaign to replace the police with a new agency, but some council members now say they regret it and the effort has collapsed. The city’s Charter Commission thwarted the council’s proposal, saying the measure needed further consideration, and kept it out of the November ballot.
While the unrest around Floyd is still fresh on their minds, business owners in the Twin Cities have said they are taking action out of caution. In Saint-Paul, the storefronts on Grand Avenue remained open but fortified with plywood.
According to Pioneer PressMarketing agency owner Nelson Fox advised Grand Avenue store managers to prepare.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, I don’t think any of us will, but given the events of the summer, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Fox said.
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