This is a start. Much more needs to be done.
An anti-violence march in Chicago briefly closed Lake Shore Drive on Thursday afternoon, as protesters demonstrated against the city’s spiraling crime crisis and called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down.
A spokesman for Chicago police said Lake Shore Drive was closed for about 35 minutes on Thursday afternoon, as demonstrators marched toward Wrigley Field, where the Cubs were scheduled to play later in the evening.
Once the marchers arrived at Wrigley Field, roughly 400 protesters spent approximately 45 minutes chanting, praying, and delivering speeches before dispersing.
The demonstrators waved signs demanding Emanuel’s resignation and chanted “one city, one Chicago” and “Rahm has to go,” as fans watched from inside the park.
Chicago police performed rolling street closures as the march progressed, creating traffic headaches across the North Side.
The march was timed with the start of the music fest Lollapalooza, in addition to the Cubs game. Organizers had not ruled out trying to enter Wrigley Field and predicted at least some protesters would be arrested.
As of Thursday afternoon, though, police said they’d made no arrests.
Photos posted on social media showed a large crowd, including some with signs, marching along the roadway.
Ahead of the march, protesters made clear they didn’t want the Democratic mayor’s support or blessing — they were urging him to resign over what they called his inability to get gun crime under control.
“The call of the people is ‘Resign Rahm,’” Dr. Gregory Livingston said, according to The Chicago Tribune. “So how, then, can you back your own regime change? How do you sanction your own termination? How dumb, naive and self-hating do you think we are?”
“Honestly, when the mayor endorses a protest, it’s no longer a protest,” the Rev. Ira Acree said. “It becomes a parade, and we’re on serious business.”
WMAQ reported that the protesters said they were looking to “redistribute the pain and agony of no economic development on the South and West Sides to the North Side.”
The march came after thousands of protesters shut down traffic on Interstate 94 last month to draw attention to gun violence.
Chicago police said the city had 252 homicides and 1,100 shootings in the first six months of 2018, a decrease from last year — but the crimes have been concentrated in predominantly black, low-income neighborhoods.
While Emanuel was in the crosshairs of this latest protest, he had offered support — even scolding Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner after he called on Emanuel to “put an end to this kind of chaos.”
“It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account,” Emanuel responded.