Black Lives Matter

Chicago Demonstrators Aim to Shut Down Dan Ryan Expressway This Weekend

The protest, titled "Black Lives Matter March: SHUTDOWN OUR DAN RYAN," is set to step off at noon Saturday

A demonstration scheduled to take place in Chicago this weekend is aiming to shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway, mirroring a now-historic anti-violence march that closed the same roadway in July 2018.

Hosted by several area organizations, the protest, titled "Black Lives Matter March: SHUTDOWN OUR DAN RYAN," is set to step off at noon Saturday at 39 W. 47th Street.

Illinois State Police confirmed they are aware of the protest and have been in contact with protest organizers "to set up a safe route of travel."

"The Illinois State Police will protect the rights of those seeking to peacefully protest while ensuring the safety of the public," the department said in a statement.

Chicago police also said they were aware of the event.

Following violent clashes with police during demonstrations at a Christopher Columbus statue in the city, organizers issued restrictions for those planning to march Saturday, which were determined between the group's leaders and city officials.

Among the restrictions were a modified route, no PVC pipes, no wagons or coolers, protesters must avoid CTA Red Line tracks along the route and marchers cannot stay on the expressway once the group exits. Bikes will also be prohibited on the expressway.

It is unclear at this time how many protesters will participate in any demonstration, but more than 2,000 individuals have indicated they are “interested” in participating, according to the march’s Facebook page.

Still, Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch Wednesday blasting reported plans of the Saturday protest as an “act of terrorism.”

“We have also learned that there is a major protest scheduled for this weekend on the Dan Ryan Expressway which will lead to more civil unrest and violence,” he said. “The expressways should provide federal jurisdiction, as it will impede interstate commerce and to be quite frank, to block an interstate highway is an act of terrorism.”

Catanzara’s letter was also sent to President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr.

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