Anti-Gun Protesters Chant For Peace, Shut Down Chicago Expressway

Elias Hubbard
July 9, 2018

Protesters shouted "Shut it down!" as they ventured onto the roadway earlier this morning. After the protest, Governor Rauner called the protest "unacceptable" and said, "We had clear parameters that allowed the protestors to be heard while respecting law and order".

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also weighed in on the issue, saying, "We support peoples' right to demonstrate their First Amendment rights".

Soon after, protesters shut down all of the northbound lanes.

It was the kind of racial and economic segregation that still exists in Chicago today.

Mayor Emanuel's spokesperson had previously said that the protest will actually backfire on the marchers.

Police warned earlier this week that any pedestrian who entered the expressway would face arrest and prosecution.

The march is led by Rev. Michael Pfleger, an Illinois Roman Catholic priest who advocates liberation theology, and the left-wing Rev. Jesse Jackson.

State police had said before the march that there was "an agreement" that marchers would take only two lanes.

IL state police told The Associated Press protesters planned to block off two northbound lanes for the march.

"When people keep ignoring you, you take it up a notch", Pfleger said.

The St. Sabina senior pastor promised there "will be another action" if officials don't work to "equalize the South and West and North sides", by deploying more resources to underserved area of the city.

Pfleger said he was "so proud" of the young people who led the march. "They saw this many people out here, black and white and brown and young and old, and saying, 'We're exhausted of the damn violence in Chicago, '" Pfleger said after completing the roughly 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometer) route.

"Too many people are shot and killed in our city each week, but our stories never gain national attention". The expressway was fully reopened less than 90 minutes later, after the protest ended.

Chicago Police also noted: "As a reminder, law enforcement and policing functions on state highways are exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Police".

"Shutting down and marching on the expressway recklessly places lives in danger by cutting off emergency services to those around the city who need it most", Byrd said.

Police Director Leo Schmitz said in a news release Saturday that an agreement was reached between "all stakeholders" on Thursday.

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday along and on that stretch, as well as on a ramp and a grassy berm, video from CNN affiliate WLS showed.

"Showing that we are all unified with this cause is something extremely important, something extremely big", he said.

Thousands of protesters were expected, but one surprised many.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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