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Multiple demonstrations have been planned over the weekend following several throughout this week in wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.
Here are the latest updates on protests underway Saturday evening:
Zero Arrests at Downtown Demonstration
No arrests were made at the demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter downtown Chicago Saturday night, police confirmed.
In a tweet, the police department thanked everyone who helped keep the downtown area safe.
"We will always facilitate & protect your First Amendment Rights in a safe manner, while ensuring the safety of residents, property & businesses," the tweeted added.
Police Superintendent David Brown at Protests
The Chicago Police Department tweeted a photo late Saturday of Superintendent David Brown and other top police officials at demonstrations along State Street.
Supt. Brown, Chief of Operations Brian McDermott, Chief Jose Tirado and Deputy Chief Randall Darlin stood alongside officers downtown to "ensure the safety of residents, businesses and demonstrators," according to the tweet.
Demonstrators Head to Block 37 Along State Street
Chicago police tweeted Saturday evening that demonstrators were "continuing to work with officers to ensure protest activity does not interfere with access to public roadways."
At approximately 8 p.m., NBC 5's Charlie Wojciechowski shared a photo showing dozens of protesters gathered near Block 37 along State Street near Washington.
According to the tweet from Chicago police at around 8:15 p.m., an "initial dispersal order" had been issued.
Demonstrators Block Michigan Avenue
Demonstrators blocked off a portion of North Michigan Avenue Saturday evening as they gathered in support in Black Lives Matter.
At around 7:30 p.m., protesters formed a circle in the middle of the road with the names of people of color who've died or have disappeared, according to NBC 5's Charlie Wojciechowski.
A portion of the Magnificent Mile remains closed near East Illinois Street.
Black Lives Matter Protest Underway
Several people marched down North Michigan Avenue Saturday evening in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
A rally started at around 5:30 p.m. near the Wrigley Building, and participants eventually marched north on the Magnificent Mile.
Ahead of the planned rally and march Saturday evening, the organizer told NBC 5 the event was intended to be a peaceful vigil.
He stated the group used the term "shut down the Mag Mile" to get everyone's attention, and said marchers plan to honor victims of police brutality and gun violence who've been killed in the community.
Ohio Street at Michigan Avenue was closed as a result of the protest, according to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Numerous Businesses Along Magnificent Mile Closed Early, Boarded Up Ahead of Planned Protests
Numerous businesses along the Magnificent Mile closed their doors early, including Under Armour, Levi’s, Untuckit, Mac and many more.
Northwestern Medicine closed its immediate care centers in River North and Streeterville at 3:30 ahead of the planned protests, officials said.
Crews were also seen boarding up windows at several Magnificent Mile businesses, including the AT&T Store, Levi’s, Timberland and several other high-profile retailers.
Those moves come ahead of planned protests along the stretch of roadway, which follow the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer earlier this week.
It is unclear how many individuals will participate in the protests, but Chicago police are ready with resources to prevent looting in the downtown area, with cement barriers, increased patrols, social media monitoring and other tactics and techniques being utilized by authorities.
Northwestern Medicine Announces Immediate Care Centers to Close Due to Protests
Due to upcoming planned protests along the Magnificent Mile, Northwestern Medicine has announced that three of its immediate care centers will close Saturday afternoon.
According to officials, the Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Centers in River North, Streeterville and the South Loop will all close at 3:30 p.m. Saturday due to the planned protests.
Several protests and rallies are planned for Saturday, including an event being called “Shut Down the Magnificent Mile.” Chicago police have taken extra precautions ahead of the planned protests, including installing concrete barriers along Michigan Avenue and stepping up patrols in the area.
Ald. Reilly Sends Letter to Ward Residents About Potential Magnificent Mile Protest
42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly sent a letter to his constituents on Friday warning of a potential protest on the Magnificent Mile this weekend.
The protest, titled "Shutdown the Magnificent Mile – Black Lives Matter," is scheduled to start at 5 p.m., according to Reilly's letter to residents. He says that Chicago police do not expect a large gathering, but that precautions and strategies have been implemented in the downtown area.
His letter read, in part:
"In an abundance of caution, City agencies and the CPD will be relying upon its all-hands-on-deck neighborhood protection plan. CPD will be implementing other strategies to protect the area as needed and plan to have high visibility with hundreds of officers downtown this weekend.
"In the event it is needed, the Department will deploy officers from the impacted District, the Critical Incident Response Team, and the Community Safety team to the affected location. Each officer will be given a specific block to protect. Additionally, City resources - including Streets and Sanitation vehicles - will be mobilized to assist CPD in maintaining control of the area through tactics such as traffic control.
"These resource deployments will ensure CPD has adequate coverage to protect businesses and residents. CPD is actively partnering with city agencies to deploy new and enhanced ways to shut down geographies—including parts of the downtown core—in the event of another looting incident. These tactics include blocking and disabling vehicles as well as creating new hardened cityscapes (such as bollards and improved concrete structures) to limit movement.
"Alderman Reilly encourages residents to plan ahead if you will be traveling in the area on Saturday and carry a photo ID at all times. Property Managers are asked to remind door staff to keep eyes open and call the police to report unusual events.
"To receive emergency alerts for updates on street closures and public transportation, subscribe to Chicago’s text or email alert system at NotifyChicago.org or follow OEMC on Facebook and Twitter. Please visit transitchicago.com for real-time updates regarding CTA service."
Multiple Demonstrations Planned for Saturday
Multiple demonstrations are being planned in Chicago Saturday afternoon and evening.
At 4 p.m., a group is set to conduct a "Back the Blue" shopping spree on the Magnificent Mile, according to social media. It's unclear how many people plan to attend the event.
An hour later, a Black Lives Matter event aims to "shut down the Magnificent Mile."
Father Pfleger Holds 'Stop Killing Us' Rally Over Dan Ryan Expressway
Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church held a "stop killing us" rally on the overpass of the Dan Ryan Expressway at 76th Street during rush hour on Friday afternoon.
The event aimed "to protest the continued racism in America that continues to make black men an endangered species Purpose Over Pain." Attendees held signs that read “Stop Killing Us" during rush hour.
Supt. Brown Says CPD, City 'Hope For the Best, Prepare for the Worst'
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Friday spoke about the city's weekend safety preparations.
"Chicago belongs to all of us. And that means all of us. Chicago Police Department is sworn to serve and protect everyone. That includes protecting our First Amendment right, our sacred right to protest. That also means protecting all of us from violence or harm. We can and we will do both," Brown said.
He offered few details on the city's plans for handling any potential demonstrations, but referred to measures that were recently put in place. He said an additional 200 officers with a newly-formed critical incident response team will focus on downtown areas, while 500 other officers with the new community safety team will be stationed throughout city neighborhoods.
"There's been a few more protests where we have taken a firm stance and ensuring First Amendment protest rights, but also when you cross the line, and meet out violence and start attacking or destroying persons and property that we will take swift enforcement action," he said. "So we've spun up our ability to protect ourselves with helmets and rock and bottle shields, because people have thrown things at us, and we've also created our rescue teams to be able to go into a crowd and arrest those agitators that are embedded in a crowd so that we can all be safe when we exercise our First Amendment right."
He added that the city is "preparing for agitators."
"We always hope for the best and prepare for the worst," Brown said. "That's just a mission of policing right now. We are hoping for peaceful protest, but we're preparing if agitators come in and want to do something different."
Brown addressed unrest in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King.
"Hate can never drive out hate. Never. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can. Two wrongs have never made a right.nAn eye for an eye just makes us both blind," Brown said. "So it's not lost on me that this is the 57th anniversary of Mr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech and I just wanted to relay those brief messages from Dr. King from history."
Downtown Businesses Prepare for Weekend Activity
Several downtown businesses on Thursday began boarding up storefronts to prepare for what they worry will be a third bout of looting, this time in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
"I boarded up the whole store because I don’t want to see the third time it happens," said Raki Mehra of Hubbard & State Cigar Shop, "because twice in two and half months, that is quite a bit.”
Mehra fears that the Kenosha shooting could cause looting in Chicago, which happened after the death of George Floyd and then just weeks ago after a police shooting in Englewood.
Chicago Conducts Public Safety Drill Downtown Thursday Evening
The city of Chicago blocked off multiple intersections in downtown Chicago Thursday evening as part of a precautionary public safety drill.
The drill started at 6 p.m. in the city's "Central Business District" and was expected to last until 9 p.m., according to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Access to the area itself wasn't restricted, but residents encountered some traffic disruptions during the drill.
The perimeters for the drill included: Division Street on the north, 18th Street on the south, Clark Street on the west and Lake Shore Drive on the east.
"The drill is part of the City’s ongoing effort to engineer security measures in order to mitigate risk to the Central Business District," OEMC said in a statement.
On Wednesday, city employees were seen putting large barricades up at several intersections in Streeterville and the Gold Coast, including on East Oak Street, East Walton Street and North Michigan Avenue.
OEMC called those barriers part of the city's "critical infrastructure assets... staged at various access points."
"The focus of this exercise is to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, workers, businesses and peaceful gatherings. The drill is not in response to any event but has been planned for weeks as part of our ongoing safety efforts," OEMC added.
Chicago Ald. Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward on Wednesday said he was concerned about what he called a "spillover effect" from unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, on Sunday in an incident that was captured on video and sparked outrage nationwide.
While Hopkins said there were a "variety of rumored events that may or may not happen," he noted that he didn't "want to jump at every shadow" and "can't react to all of them."