George Floyd Protests Fill Downtown Chicago Streets, Turn Violent Amid Looting, Property Damage, Police Confrontations

Jim Gudas
May 30, 2020 - 3:29 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Thousands of protesters returned downtown for a second day of protests to express outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, looting and damaging some downtown businesses.

Several demonstrations have been taking place in the downtown area with protesters confronting police near Trump Plaza, on the Wabash Avenue Bridge and other areas. There were reports of people attempting to flip over squad cars.

The crowd started in Federal Plaza at 2 p.m., wearing masks and chanting "I can't breathe" and "Get off my head."

Chicago Police shut down Lake Shore Drive and CTA service to the Loop was halted.

Some demonstrators have thrown rocks at police and vandalized police vehicles, bus stops, businesses and broke windows. There have been incidents of looting at some downtown stores such as Gucci.

Police have taken to bullhorns to tell people to disperse or they will be arrested. There are reports of officers preparing tear gas.

In response to Friday's violence, Mayor Lightfoot urged people to protest peacefully Saturday, saying that the city will take necessary action to stop unruly action.

"Peaceful protest is part of who we are as Americans, who we are as a democracy but when it crosses the line, we have to take action," Lightfoot said.

Latinx
Photo credit Protests hold signs that read, "Latinx for Black Lives: Black Lives Matter." (Jim Gudas/WBBM)

The protests began peacefully, aside from some minor scuffles between running protesters and police officers. But as the crowd divided into different directions, some protestors went up north and blocked Lake Shore Drive, which remains shut down, Chicago police said.

Chicago police then intervened and raised the DuSable Bridge in an effort to separate protesters, who gathered south of the bridge. Although the crowd has thinned out, there were still thousands of protesters as of 6 p.m. State Street and Wabash were the only bridges now not raised. 

Some protestors have been arrested and violence has occurred between police and protesters, though there have been no reports of injuries or strong force by the police.

Speaking with protesters, some told WBBM civil disobedience is not the right way to get the message across, while others say this is the only way to be heard. 

The protest is planned to continue until 5 p.m. and over 7,000 attendees marked they were "interested" on the Facebook event.

The protest is part of nationwide organized protests demanding justice for Floyd and other Black lives lost to police brutality. People are calling for police reform, justice for Black Americans and equal treatment of the Black community in the wake of several racial incidents over the past months and years.

Lots of protests have turned violent, such as in Oakland, where an officer was killed and one was injured. In Detroit, a 21-year-old protester died after he was shot by an unknown offender. In Los Angeles, protests began peaceful but turned violent and two officers sustained minor injuries. At least 400 arrests were made. And in Charlotte, police called the large gathering of protesters an "unlawful assembly" and began dispersing the crowd.

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