Chicago mayor ‘confident’ DNC will be safe

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) says safety is a top priority ahead of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this summer, amid concerns that anti-war protests similar to those in 1968 could take hold in his city.

In an interview on MSNBC this week with Al Sharpton, Johnson expressed confidence that the Windy City is prepared to host the convention in late August.

“My vision for this convention is to ensure that we have a peaceful, but yet energetic and vibrant, convention. I’m confident that the city of Chicago will showcase its beauty and of course, the soul, the soul of Chicago,” Johnson said.

“I’m very much confident that we’re going to have a peaceful, safe, energetic, vibrant convention that’s going to propel President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris back to the White House to continue to serve the people of this country,” he added.

The convention this summer will serve as a test for Johnson and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D), as protesters of the Biden administration’s handling of Israel’s war with Hamas already have set their eyes on the event.

The Chicago DNC has the potential to draw comparisons to the chaos of the 1968 one, when police in the city battled those protesting the Vietnam War right outside the convention hall.

The Secret Service has already been working for months with local and state law enforcement agencies to prepare for the DNC, and agency spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said he is confident they were prepared.

“The Secret Service is satisfied, based on our manpower briefing, that Chicago is well-prepared from a staffing perspective to handle safety and security of the event,” Guglielmi said in a statement to NBC News.

DNC spokesperson Emily Soong said in a statement earlier this month that Johnson and Pritzker have been “invaluable partners in planning a safe and successful convention.”

Johnson similarly touted the work city officials have done with the Secret Service in preparing for the summer event, in the recent interview.

“What I’m very confident in is that working with local police departments, the Secret Service, as well as other local law enforcement, we’re going to ensure that the people who will descend on the greatest city in the world that they will see, again, the soul of Chicago, which really embodies the full spirit of what the Biden-Harris administration has been about,” he said, adding, “protecting workers’ rights, protecting reproductive rights, fighting to make sure that people have an opportunity to receive an education without going into extreme debt.”

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