Hundreds of Anti-Police Brutality Protesters to Shut Down Major Chicago Highway

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 07: Thousands of activists march onto Chicago Dan Ryan Expressway to protest violence in the city on July 7, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Anti-violence protesters aimed to shut down the northbound lanes of the major interstate in an effort to press public officials to address common …
Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Hundreds of protesters against police brutality are expected to shut down a major Chicago highway around noon on Saturday.

The protest is similar to one that took place in 2018, where Jesse Jackson and the Catholic priest Rev. Michael Pfleger participated in an anti-gun protest that shut down several lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway to protest gun violence in Chicago.

Organizers of the event say the march will start at Robert Taylor Park, near 47th and Federal Streets, where participants will hold a vigil.

Then, demonstrators will march up the Dan Ryan to 43rd Street and Grant Park.

Organizers of the event say it will be peaceful.

Fraternal Order of Police President (FOP) John Catanzara told WGN News on Wednesday that he wants help from federal law enforcement to prosecute anyone who walks on the expressway, adding that obstructing a federal highway “is an act of terrorism.”

Rabbi Michael Ben Yousef, one of the organizers of the event, says he had been in contact with the Illinois State Police and that the event was not put together at the last minute.

“If they’re looting, we do not want the looters in our demonstration,” he said. “That is against our mandate, our mandate is non-violence.”

The state police released a statement saying they will protect the rights of the peaceful protesters while making sure the general public is safe.

“The Illinois State Police is aware of the planned protest to march along the Dan Ryan Expressway on August 15, 2020. We have been in contact with the protest organizers to set up a safe route of travel,” the state police said.

“The Illinois State Police will protect the rights of those seeking to peacefully protest while ensuring the safety of the public. We will keep interested media posted once more information is available.”

But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that she has “great concerns” about allowing the Dan Ryan protest to take place.

“I have great concerns about allowing anyone ever to get on expressways, particularly in this time,” Lightfoot said Friday. “It’s a significant drain of police resources, even though we don’t have primary jurisdiction over the expressway, we have to be there.”

“And particularly, as I understand it, they’re planning to come down to Grant Park. That is our jurisdiction. So I have a lot of concerns about it. We are going to continue to be in conversation with our state partners about this issue and hopefully have a workable solution,” she added.

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