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'The People Won Today' Pfleger Says After Dan Ryan March

July 08, 2018 - 11:31 am

CHICAGO (AP) — The leader of an anti-violence march that shut down a Chicago freeway says "the people won today."

Thousands of people marched a roughly 1.5-mile stretch of Interstate 94 to draw attention to gun violence. The Rev. Michael Pfleger, who organized the march, says people of many races and ages came together to say, "We're tired of the damn violence in Chicago."

Saturday's march ended around 1 p.m., roughly three hours after protesters first entered what's known as the Dan Ryan Expressway and less than 90 minutes after Illinois State Police shut down all northbound traffic.

Pfleger says the next step is for the governor, mayor and other officials to meet with the community and come up with a plan to help neighborhoods on Chicago's South and West sides.

RELATED: Thousands Of Anti-Violence Demonstrators Shut Down Dan Ryan Expressway


2:25 p.m.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling the shutdown of a Chicago interstate by anti-violence protesters "unacceptable."

The Republican said in a tweet Saturday that he was "disappointed" in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He called on Emanuel to "take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos."

Emanuel responded in a tweet : "It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account."

Thousands of protesters marched on Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway on Saturday to draw attention to the city's gun violence and pressure public officials to do more to stop it. The Dan Ryan Expressway is part of Interstate 94.

The governor's office and Illinois State Police said early Saturday that they would block off two northbound lanes. Protest organizers objected, and said the crowd would shut down traffic. State police then close all of the northbound lanes.


12:05 p.m.

Thousands of protesters have shut down a Chicago interstate to draw attention to the city's gun violence and pressure public officials to do more to help neighborhoods hardest hit by it.

Illinois State Police said early Saturday that an agreement had been reached to allow protesters onto a portion of Interstate 94 known as the Dan Ryan Expressway. Officers and vehicles lined up, forming a barrier to keep protesters in two northbound lanes.

But the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who's leading the march, said protesters wanted to shut down the entire roadway. He noted the city closes major roads for parades and other occasions.

After a roughly hourlong standstill police announced they were shutting down all northbound lanes of the expressway and protesters began walking. Pfleger, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson were walking side-by-side among them.


9:25 a.m.

Illinois State Police say they will allow anti-violence protesters to march along a portion of a Chicago interstate.

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

He says state and Chicago police and Illinois Department of Transportation employees will provide a "safety barrier" between motorists and marchers along a stretch of Interstate 94 known as the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Hundreds and possibly thousands of people are expected to participate in Saturday's march. They want to draw attention to the city's gun violence and pressure public officials to do more to stop it.

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


11 p.m.

Protesters planning to shut down a major Chicago interstate say they're trying to pressure public officials to address the gun violence that's claimed hundreds of lives in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

There's also a historical significance to marching along the stretch of Interstate 94 known as the Dan Ryan Expressway. Some believe the roadway was built in the early 1960s to separate white communities and poor, black ones. It was the kind of racial and economic segregation that still exists in Chicago.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger is a Roman Catholic priest and anti-violence activist on the city's South Side who will lead Saturday's march. He says protesters will carry a banner with a list of demands that includes: more resources, jobs, better schools and stronger gun laws.

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