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Terrorist alert regarding Pride Month celebrations issued by FBI, Department of Homeland Security – NBC Chicago

With less than three weeks until Pride Month begins in Chicago, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have issued a new warning that the celebrations could be the target of terrorist activity.

In a public service announcement issued late last week, the agencies warned that “foreign terrorist organizations or their supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming Pride Month of June 2024.”

June Pride celebrations in Chicago are among the oldest and largest in the country. The annual Pride Parade is expected to draw more than a million people to the Lakeview, Uptown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. This year, the city announced it was limiting parade entries to 150 people, for logistical and safety reasons.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re dealing with people who are trying to victimize and hurt our community and people who are just trying to live normal lives and be accepted,” said Dante Hernandez, who operates a health clinic. cannabis on North Halsted Street.

In their public service announcement, the federal agencies do not include any specific targets, but they reference past attacks in June, such as the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and last year’s arrest of supporters of the ISIS for attempting to attack a Pride parade in Virginia.

Davion Mason said he expected threats against the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I wouldn’t say it’s worse than any year, but we certainly expect them to come up when Pride Month rolls around,” he said.

The Chicago FBI said the joint alert issued by the agency and the Department of Homeland Security was part of a regular effort to encourage the public to remain vigilant when observing celebrations in public and large groups .

“At this time, there are no specific, actionable threats to the Chicago area related to the LGBTQIA+ community or planned public events,” said Special Agent Siobhan Johnson.

NBC Chicago has reached out to both the Chicago Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, but has not yet received a response.

25th Neighborhood Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez said he believes threats against the LGBTQIA+ community come from “extremist groups who want to see our city in chaos.”

He said Chicago does not tolerate hate speech. Sigcho-Lopez is also part of a group of aldermen demanding that Mayor Brandon Johnson fire Chicago police officers linked to hate groups in an inspector general report.

As for business owners on North Halsted Street, Brent Arms said the new warning won’t cause him to change his plans.

“I’m probably a little more conscious, but I’m not changing what I do for anyone,” he said.

NBC Chicago

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