Despite $75,000,000 In Taxpayer-Funded Security, Violence Is Coming To DNC, Officials Fear

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A chaotic confluence during the upcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Chicago is imminent, potentially leading to serious violence that could spill out into the suburbs, officials told the Daily Caller.

Over 70 organizations have joined a coalition called “March on the DNC” and plan to protest President Joe Biden for being “complicit in the genocide” of Palestinians, a spokesperson for the group told Time Magazine. Despite the federal government granting $75 million to the city for security measures, Democratic Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez told the Daily Caller that the incoming gatherings are “raising some serious concerns.”

“Individuals are not coming here to peacefully protest. They’re coming here so that they can take home the badge of honor being pelted by a police officer’s weapon, or some sort of mark of shame to take home and say, ‘Look, this is my bruise. This is my broken arm. This is my cracked head from Chicago because I was there fighting and leading the resistance,'” Lopez said.

“When you have Democratic Socialist members of the city council and other individuals openly advocating for people to organize without permits, to organize protests and counter protests and to be prepared to make this greater than 1968, which was one of the darkest chapters in our city’s history, politically, we have to be prepared for anything.”

Lopez singled out his Democratic colleague, Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who is a member of the Chicago City Council Democratic Socialist Caucus. Sigcho-Lopez has expressed support for anti-Israel organizers.

Sigcho-Lopez did not respond to a Daily Caller request for comment in time for publication.

Sigcho-Lopez attended a rally in March that called for a ceasefire in Gaza and protested Biden’s handling of the war, at which one person burned an American flag, according to ABC 7 Chicago. A group of Chicago aldermen criticized him for his presence and wanted him to apologize.

“I did attend, and I wasn’t aware that this happened before I was there, and there were some pictures circulating, accusing me of almost burning the flag, which is not only false but malicious,” Sigcho-Lopez responded. “The most American thing we have is the First Amendment right.”

Sigcho-Lopez has also called for the cancellation of the DNC in protest of continued American support for Israel. “If war criminal Netanyahu is allowed to attack Rafah with our tax dollars, we will reject the DNC in Chicago,” he tweeted in February.

The 1968 DNC in Chicago saw tens of thousands of demonstrators sweep the city’s streets to protest the Vietnam War.

Police and protesters clashed at a scene that History described as “unrestrained bloodshed and chaos.” At the time, only one of the many protest groups who applied for a permit to rally in the city’s Lincoln Park was given one. Thousands showed up anyway.

This year’s convention could be marred by similar defiance.

At least seven groups have been denied permits to demonstrate near the United Center, a spokesperson for Chicago’s Department of Transportation (DOT) told the Daily Caller.

“All applications were denied following review by multiple City departments to identify any potential conflicts, safety issues, and to assess the availability of resources needed to support the gathering,” Erica Schroeder, the Director of Public Information for Chicago’s DOT, said in a statement.

Organizers say they will still march on the city with or without permission and have sued the city on First Amendment grounds, according to Time Magazine.

The protesters plan to march on both the first and last day of the convention. They want Biden to turn “off the tap of money and weapons to Israel,” Hatem Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for the coalition, told Time.

The city suggested an alternative area four miles away from the convention center for demonstrators to voice their grievances, according to Time. All signs, however, point to a spillover into the city that might be too much for police to handle, Lopez warned.

“We’ve seen that these protests are not necessarily going to be contained just to the area where the Democratic National Convention happens. We have seen routinely on Fridays and Saturdays, weekend takeovers of our downtown district, our central business district, to Lakeshore drive — which is one of the main thoroughfares along the lakefront — and if those protests are in those areas, or worse, are happening in neighborhoods, that’s going to be a severe disruption that our police department quite frankly won’t be able to manage because they already have been having difficulties because of attrition and lack of response to hiring efforts.”

Republican Illinois State Rep. John Cabello painted a similar picture of what’s to come.

“I do think some things will unfortunately turn because emotions are gonna run high,” Cabello told the Daily Caller. “I believe that there will be arrests. I believe that people who are trying to disrupt democracy should be arrested if they try to stop it. I’m a Republican, but the Democrats deserve to have a convention where they have the right to do what they need to do. And if anybody wants to stop that, then I believe they need to be arrested, and they need to throw the book out.”

Pro-Palestinian activists have encouraged voters to back alternate ballot options like “uncommitted” in the Democratic presidential primary due to Biden’s handling of the war.  More than 100,000 voters, 13.3 percent, in Michigan’s February contest voted “Uncommitted.”

In March, another 48,000 voted “Uncommitted” in Washington’s Democratic primary.

Biden has also faced backlash from donors over his decision to withhold aid to Israel if the country defied his red line not to invade Rafah, according to Axios. In addition, internal staff has criticized him for backing Israel.

In January, 17 anonymous Biden staffers wrote a letter imploring him to call for a ceasefire, end unconditional military aid for Israel and “end the conditions of apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing” that they claimed Israel is engaging in.

A wave of Pro-Palestinian protests, particularly on college campuses, has been taking the country by storm since Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel on October 7. Students and faculty at numerous universities, including USC, Columbia, Yale, Michigan and others, have occupied school buildings, damaged property and clashed with police in increasingly tense standoffs.

Lopez likened the wave of protests to a dry run for the convention. (RELATED: More Than Half Arrested For Campus Protests Were Outside Agitators, University Says: REPORT)

“I fully respect the Constitution, the First Amendment and the freedom to assemble,” Lopez continued. “That is a God-given right for all Americans. But we have to be clear about something. If you need fortifications and weapons protests, probably not peaceful assembly. There are ways in which we can allow free speech. There are ways that we shouldn’t be allowed to protest.”