'Black Christmas' protesters block Chicago stores, 2 detained
Over a hundred demonstrators are trying to block last-minute Christmas shoppers from entering stores on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, demanding the mayor's resignation over the police shooting of an African American teen. Two people were reportedly detained.
A follow-up to the Black Friday protest the day after Thanksgiving, which shut down a number of stores in the city's famous shopping district, the protest is going by "Black Christmas."
Chicago protest disrupts Xmas Shopping N Michigan Ave #chicago#blacklivematterpic.twitter.com/J7XOyJtxGf— VimviriyaL (@VimviriyaL) December 24, 2015
It is a reference to Wednesday's protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Black Lives Matter activists attempted to repeat the 2014 "Black Christmas" protest, picketing the Mall of America, but were turned away by police and ended up at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, causing traffic and flight delays.
Protesters laying/sitting NB Michigan Ave btw Grand and Ohio. @wgnnewspic.twitter.com/IaEHDzbFOi— Sarah Jindra (@SarahJindra) December 24, 2015
Roughly three hours into the protests, a scuffle broke out between demonstrators and police, the Associated Press reported. Two people were taken into custody.
A large confrontation -- pushing & shoving -- between #ChicagoProtesters & @Chicago_Police#BlackChristmaspic.twitter.com/McZC0LhMGE— Justin Madden (@IAmJustinMadden) December 24, 2015
Demonstrators say that disrupting holiday shopping is a form of civil disobedience, aimed at compelling the authorities to take their demands seriously.
Protesters gather at Wacker and Michigan. Start protest with a count to 16. #chicago#rahm#LaquanMcDonaldpic.twitter.com/1cO3L7H8OW— Wendy Widom (@wendywidom) December 24, 2015
Some of the protesters carried signs with the slogan "Shopping for a new mayor." Activists have called for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.
"Barack, come get your boy!" Rev. Gregory Livingston, leader of the Coalition for a New Chicago, told reporters covering the protest.
Marchers shutting down #MagMile now #SocialJustice#BlackChristmaspic.twitter.com/7J73o02SAq— Douglas Black (@dblack3113) December 24, 2015
Emanuel, who was Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama before resigning to run for mayor of Chicago, has already sacked the police superintendent and the head of the agency that investigates police abuse, but has shrugged off demands to resign himself.
#BlackXmas2 activists attempting to block one of the entrances of Water Tower Place. pic.twitter.com/VTHHhEq5s7— THE HERALD (@HWCTHEHERALD) December 24, 2015
Protesters staged a 'die-in' and chanted "Sixteen shots and a cover-up", a reference to the number of rounds Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fired at black teenager Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
Die-in on Michigan Ave, chanting "16 shots and a cover up!" #BlackChristmaspic.twitter.com/V5wb7YNaZL— Aaron Cynic (@aaroncynic) December 24, 2015
Chicago authorities released the video of McDonald's death last month and charged officer Van Dyke with murder. Protesters have blasted the actions as too little, too late.
Here are some of the posters and signs being held by #ChicagoProtesters#BlackChristmaspic.twitter.com/On6BDhAhLt— Justin Madden (@IAmJustinMadden) December 24, 2015
Though the protest has so far been smaller in scope than the Black Thursday march, more demonstrators have been arriving by bus from different parts of Chicago.
#BlackXmas2 activists marching northbound on Michigan Ave. pausing to allow buses full of people to come. pic.twitter.com/G6L1UYOieK— THE HERALD (@HWCTHEHERALD) December 24, 2015
Morale among the Chicago police is "probably the lowest I've seen in my 35 years," police union president Dean Angelo Sr. told AP on Thursday.
Officers are holding off on fighting crime because "don't want to be the next headline," added Angelo, a 60-year-old former detective who leads the 12,000-member Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge Number 7.