National Guard troops are patrolling the streets of Philadelphia and Chicago, including Target parking lots, ahead of Tuesday’s election that is expected to trigger violence in major cities across the country.
Troops reported to Philadelphia on Monday night, arriving in armored trucks, a day before Americans went to the polls to decide on who will be the next President.
It comes after weeks of unrest in Philadelphia over the police shooting of black man Walter Wallace Jr.
Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker asked National Guard troops in his state to go to Chicago in anticipation of riots and looting.
Armored tanks arrive in downtown Chicago on Monday after Gov. JB Pritzker mobilized the National Guard ahead of anticipated unrest
Troops arriving in Chicago on Monday night ahead of Tuesday’s election
More troops in Chicago on Monday night after being mobilized by the governor
A National Guard spokesman said the troops have not yet been given any specific directions.
‘Obviously, people can see Illinois National Guard trucks and troops moving.
‘This is to be ready to respond if needed, but we have not been given any missions. We, along with most other Illinoisans and Americans, hope we are not needed,’ Barb Wilson, the spokesman, said.
Gov. Pritzker said at a press conference on Monday that they would be on standby.
‘We’ve made sure that our National Guard is simply in a state of readiness.
‘We want to make sure that cities, counties that call upon us for help from the state of Illinois, that we have those resources available to them,’ he said.
Pritzker also asked residents to be ‘patient’ with the election result and said it could take until Thursday to reach it due to the number of mail-in ballots that need to be counted.
In Pennsylvania, votes will be counted for three days after the election. It is very important that we are patient with the presidential election.
Philadelphia: In Philadelphia, National Guardsmen were seen manning a Target which had been boarded up
Armored trucks at the Target in Philadelphia on Monday night
‘We may very well not know who won the election on Wednesday, let alone Tuesday night,’ he said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Monday that she did not call in the troops.
Some troops were seen at a Target in Philadelphia on Monday night. The store had also been boarded up to deter looters.
People tweeted from the scene, calling it a ‘sad day’.
Pennsylvania is a swing state in the election. The Supreme Court last week upheld a decision to allow votes there to be counted for three days after the election.
The National Guard have been in Philadelphia in recent weeks to respond to riots over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr.
Trump says it is a ‘dangerous’ move that will confuse voters and cause potential unrest.
He issued a stern warning to Governor Tom Wolf last week, saying: ‘We’re all watching you, Governor. We have a lot of eyes on the governor and his friend.
‘Couple of other governors out there too.’
Wolf retaliated on Twitter, saying: ‘Pennsylvanians will not be intimidated. You can watch us count every vote and have a fair election.’
Philadelphia saw several nights of rioting last week after the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. by two cops.
Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than 1 percent of the vote there.
Riots in Philadelphia last week over Walter Wallace Jr’s death