Anti-violence protest closes Lake Shore Drive and ends in Wrigley


CHICAGO, IL — Protesters closed a section of Lake Shore Drive and other roads as they marched to Wrigley Field Thursday as part of a protest against the violence. Chicago police reopened Lake Shore in both directions just after 5 p.m., and the group reached the stadium around 5:30 p.m.

The protest — organized by the Coalition for a New Chicago and Violence Interrupters — began around 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 2. Protesters were traveling a nearly 2-mile route along Lake Shore between Diversey Parkway and Belmont Avenue.

At Belmont, the party moved west to Clark Street, then northwest to Wrigley. Drivers were asked to take Western, Ashland, Damen or Lincoln avenues to bypass street closures west of Wrigley Field.

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LOOK: Protesters march during an anti-violence demonstration Thursday in Chicago that started along Lake Shore Drive and ended at Wrigley Field.

March organizer Joseph Eccleston said the protest was aimed at holding police accountable and tackling corruption within the police force.

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“We want the civilian police to be accountable. … We want the community to take control of the police,” he said.

Protesters were also demanding the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Superintendent. Eddie Johnson. They also wanted the city to invest more in the south and west sides and reopen 50 schools closed under Emanuel’s administration.

“We’re really passionate about raising awareness of the disparity between the south and west sides and the north side,” said protester Dannis Matteson. “We just want more people on the North Side to care about the economic injustice and the racial injustice that exists in our city.”

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Bringing attention to the economic and social divisions between different parts of the city was behind the reason event organizers chose Wrigley Field and the surrounding Lake View neighborhood to stage the protest.

“A lot of North Siders aren’t aware of what’s going on on the South Side, or maybe they are, but they don’t know what to do about it,” protester Thomas Cook said. “It’s a chance to get the ball rolling and try to do something to make the South Side and our side more equal in terms of resources, schools and jobs.”

At Monday’s press conference, the Reverend Gregory Livingston, one of the organizers of the event, called the protest “a disruptive force” and said he expected protesters. to be arrestedaccording to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We have people who are committed and who are ready to be arrested,” Reverend Ira Acree, another organizer, said at Monday’s press conference. “And those who don’t, we will tell them to stay back. But there are definitely people who are going to be arrested. And we have lawyers and people who will provide resources to bail them out.”

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But as of 7 p.m., no arrests had been made at the protest, police said. The protest shut down Lake Shore Drive for about 35 minutes, according to authorities, who estimated the event drew around 150 people. Organizers, however, said around 500 people attended, with some joining the group’s march to the ballpark.

“The event ended without any arrests or issues,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. wrote on Twitter. “150 protesters participated and we thank residents and motorists for their patience during today’s events.”

Earlier this week, Chicago Cubs officials told fans getting in and out of Wrigley Field on Thursday wouldn’t be a problem. People attending the game against the San Diego Padres were asked to avoid the affected road.

“We advise our clients to avoid Lake Shore Drive,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the Chicago Tribune ahead of the protest.

Complicating traffic issues, the first day of Lollapalooza was also Thursday, with the first musical acts performing on several stages around Grant Park beginning at noon.

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An anti-violence protest similar to Thursday’s scheduled event took place on July 7 and closed the north lanes of the Dan Ryan Freeway on the south side. But organizers of this week’s protest are distancing themselves from the protest led by the Reverend Michael Pfleger, which had the support of Emanuel and Johnson.

“We are not looking for any kind of help from Mayor Emanuel because, said Jesus, ‘How can Satan drive out Satan?’ He is then divided against himself,” Livingston said at the press conference.

More via the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Grandstand

Patch editor Amber Fisher contributed to this report.

Protesters marched along Lake Shore Drive on Thursday, August 2, eventually gathering outside Wrigley Field in an anti-violence demonstration. (Photos via Amber Fisher | Patch)


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