Police STOP Protesters From Shutting Down Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago
Chicago, IL – In a surprising reversal, law enforcement prevented a group of protesters from shutting down a major interstate in Chicago on Saturday.
The planed protest called “Black Lives Matter: SHUTDOWN THE DAN RYAN” was held today, but it didn’t go the way the protesters or the Illinois State Police (ISP) indicated it would.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported earlier this week that organizers reached an agreement with state and local officials that would allow them to shut down a stretch of the Dan Ryan Expressway with the help of law enforcement.
In an exclusive statement to TNN on Friday, the ISP urged truckers to avoid the area.
“The ISP would urge the motoring public, including truck drivers, to avoid the Dan Ryan Expressway in both directions within the city of Chicago during the proposed date and time of the planned protest,” ISP Sgt. Delila Garcia said. “We would ask that your audience consider using alternate routes to travel through northeast Illinois, such as the I-290 to I-55 or I-294.”
However, as TNN reported, Sgt. Garcia also left open the possibility that circumstances may arise which could cause a change in the plans.
“We will continue to keep an open dialogue with all involved and adjust as each situation requires. Safety of the public and our officers is paramount,” she said.
That’s exactly what happened on Saturday.
Protesters gathered at Robert Taylor Park at 12 p.m.
They had planned to enter the northbound lanes of the Expressway during mid-day at the 47th Street entrance ramp and proceed to the 43rd Street exit ramp.
However, in a reversal, police diverted the group and did not allow them to enter onto the Expressway.
The turnout for the demonstration was far less than organizers initially indicated to authorities.
Organizers hoped to attract 25,000 demonstrators, but fewer than 200 people participated, according to multiple reporters present at the protest.
The event was also marred by a counter-demonstration by a Black Power group demanding to know where the money being donated to Black Lives Matters was being spent.
A heavy presence of officers from ISP and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) protected the group as they marched through streets in Chicago’s South Side.
Protest organizer, Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef with the Chicago Activist Coalition for Justice, spoke to the marchers after police disallowed them to shut down the interstate.
“We were this close to taking the Dan Ryan, but I don’t want you to be defeated,” he said.
Further, he implored those in the community who did not participate to “show up” for future protests.
“You said ‘we are not murdered enough by the police’ when you don’t show up!” Rabbi Yosef declared.
He vowed to keep fighting.
The groups sponsoring Saturday’s protest have already planned future shutdowns.
Click HERE to read more about those scheduled shutdowns.
Tumultuous Week in the Windy City
Thus ends another tumultuous week for Chicago after widespread rioting plagued parts of the city on Sunday into Monday.
Hundreds of rioters filled the streets in downtown Chicago on Sunday night into Monday after police say “misinformation” about an officer-involved shooting was circulated on social media.
Looters smashed their way into a slew of high end retail stores in the Magnificent Mile shopping center.
However, it wasn’t just high end retailers that got trashed and cleaned out.
Convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores were also terrorized.
According to the CPD, more than 400 officers were dispatched to control the rioting and thirteen sustained injuries after rioters attacked them with bottles and all sorts of objects.
Also, in response to the chaos, city officials closed bridges and roadways preventing access into the downtown area.
As TNN reported, big rigs were also targeted and looted.
Click HERE to read more.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow new developments.