Chicago protest calling for Emanuel to resign shuts down highway

An anti-violence protest in Chicago briefly shut down traffic on a busy city avenue on Thursday as dozens of protesters called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) to resign.

The Chicago Tribune reports that about 150 demonstrators blocked traffic on the southbound side of Lake Shore Drive around 4:15 p.m. local time, blocking traffic while city snowplows prevented traffic from approaching the area.

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Demonstrators called for Emanuel to step down, citing his support for tough policing tactics in the city as well as a climbing murder rate.

“There are too many killings in Chicago, there are too many police-involved killings in Chicago,” one of the demonstration’s organizers, Tio Hardiman, told the newspaper. “It’s time to change the narrative in Chicago.”

The road was reopened by 5 p.m. CST, according to the Tribune. The protest, which occurred on the city's North Side, was meant to inconvenience wealthier residents of Chicago's more affluent areas, according to those who attended.

“It’s good to be a little uncomfortable. It’s one day of discomfort, not a lifetime of discomfort,” one protester said, according to the Tribune.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said another. “You can protest for a decade on the South Side without getting any attention. Come up here, you can reach people untouched by violence. You got a lot of rich who’re people who, it’s not their problem. I guess you can make it their problem.”

The protest occurred on the first day of the Lollapalooza music festival and the same day as a Chicago Cubs baseball game, which both drew thousands to the city. Organizers were originally hoping for a larger turnout and had suggested they would attempt to enter the Cubs stadium.

“We have people who are committed, who are ready to get arrested,” Rev. Ira Acree, an organizer, told the Tribune earlier this week. “And those who don’t, they’ll stay back. But certainly, people are going to get arrested. And we will have attorneys and people who will provide resources to bail them out.”