Chicago Protests, Preparations: A Live Blog of What to Expect This Weekend

Chicago protest tomorrow aims to shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway. Meanwhile, police work to prevent looting and unrest elsewhere in the city

NOTE: Live coverage of events or press conferences will appear in the player above

Chicago is bracing for another summer weekend filled with unknowns as protesters plan to shut down one of the area's busiest expressways and police heighten security around the city to prevent unrest similar to what was seen less than one week earlier.

Here's a look at what's planned in Chicago this weekend and what you can expect:

(Note: this will be updated as new information is released)

Chicago Mayor Has 'Great Concerns' About Dan Ryan Protest

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has "great concerns" about a planned protest aiming to shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway Saturday.

Thousands of protesters are expected to join in a demonstration that is slated to travel into downtown, ending in the city's Grant Park.

"I have great concerns about allowing anyone ever to get on expressways, particularly in this time," Lightfoot said Friday. "It's a significant drain of police resources, even though we don't have primary jurisdiction over the expressway, we have to be there. And particularly, as I understand it, they're planning to come down to Grant Park. That is our jurisdiction. So I have a lot of concerns about it. We are going to continue to be in conversation with our state partners about this issue and hopefully have a workable solution."

In addition to safety concerns, Lightfoot also said she's worried about people "hijacking" the event.

"We of course support peaceful protests and assembly always, but unfortunately, as we've seen way too many times over the course of this summer, peaceful protests have been hijacked by people who have every made every effort to try to provoke our police, injure our police and end up injuring innocent people who come just to be able to express themselves, as is their God given right- particularly the right under the First Amendment of the Constitution," Lightfoot said. "So these are very complicated, delicate situations. And we need to make sure that first and foremost, we are keeping our residents, our neighborhoods and our businesses and our police officers safe."

Chicago Authorities to Monitor Social Media Amid Looting Threats, Lightfoot Says

Chicago police created a social media task force to monitor online activity that could indicate future plans of looting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.

In response to recent looting throughout the city, Lightfoot said the 20-person unit within the Crime Prevention and Information Center will be focused on 24-hour social media monitoring of all open source information.

"As we've seen over these past few months, social media platforms have repeatedly been used to organize large groups of people to engage in illegal activity," Lightfoot said.

Using technology and data analytics, the task force will review key term searches and relevant pages or accounts previously used to organize looting activity, according to the mayor's office.

Joining forces with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CPD formed a task force of detectives to specifically manage looting cases and hold more individuals accountable.

"This task force is already reviewing video camera footage and other evidence to identify perpetrators and develop strong cases against them," the mayor's office said in a release.

Chicago Dan Ryan Protest: Here is the Route Demonstrators Are Expected to Take

Thousands of protesters are expected to join in a demonstration in Chicago Saturday aiming to shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway and then travel into downtown Chicago.

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."

Chicago police also said they were aware of the event.

As of Friday, Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications said the route the protesters are expected to take ends in Grant Park. It includes:

- Westbound on 47th St to the Dan Ryan Expressway onto the Dan Ryan via the ramp
- Marchers will then proceed northbound to the 43rd St exit ramp and walk eastbound on 43rd to Indiana, North on Indiana to 31st St
- West on 31st St to Michigan Avenue
- North on Michigan Ave to Roosevelt Rd (Grant Park)

OEMC said roughly 2,000 protesters are currently estimated to attend.

Live: Lightfoot to Announce New Protections for 'Commercial Corridors and Neighborhoods'

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is set to announce new measures "to protect Chicago's commercial corridors and neighborhoods" Friday, according to her public schedule.

The mayor is expected to join law enforcements, prosecutors and business and community leaders for a noon announcement in Olive Park. (Watch it live in the player above)

The Chicago Police Department released several videos of looting incidents that took place early Monday morning. Detectives are asking the public to look at the videos and help identify potential suspects.

Chicago Demonstrators Aim to Shut Down Dan Ryan Expressway This Weekend

(NOTE: NBC 5 plans to have live coverage of the protest Saturday afternoon. Watch live in the player above)

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.”

CPD Deploys 1,000 Additional Officers After Downtown Looting; Warns They Will Puncture Tires and Block Streets to Capture Suspects

The Chicago Police Department has added 1,000 more officers to city streets following the mass looting in the city's downtown and neighborhoods earlier this week, Supt. David Brown said.

The department also extended Chicago officers' hours and canceled days off, he said, reiterating, "this is our town; it doesn't belong to the criminals."

"Don't let these criminals run you out of this beautiful city," Brown said in a news conference Thursday to detail plans for weekend safety following widespread looting that left many businesses damaged and resulted in more than 100 arrests. "Our department, our police officers will risk their lives to protect you. Not in our town, not in our city."

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown stood on the city’s Michigan Avenue to send a blunt message to looters who broke into stores on the Mag Mile less than a week earlier: “CPD is going to arrest you.”

More than 100 people were arrested and numerous businesses were damaged early Monday as looting and chaotic scenes erupted throughout the city. As of Thursday, at least 42 of those arrested were facing felony charges, according to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office.

Access to the city's central business district will remain restricted during overnight hours throughout the weekend, with street closures, bridge lifts, ramp blockages and transit reroutes all expected. Check points will allow only residents and area employees to enter.

"We are going to deploy all tactics necessary to prevent and stop looting," Brown said. "If that means deploying stop strips to puncture your tires if you're caravaning cars to loot. We will disable your cars to prevent the caravan and we will work very hard to do so. If that means deploying tow trucks to impound your cars that are caravaning to loot, CPD will do so. If that means blocking off streets and boxing in caravans of looters, CPD will work to do so."

Overnight Restricted Access to Downtown Chicago Will Continue Through Weekend

Restricted access, including multiple street closures, and an increased police presence will continue in downtown Chicago through this weekend, the city's Office of Emergency Management said Wednesday.

"Following the looting and civil unrest experienced in the early hours of Monday morning, the City will continue to implement its Neighborhood Protection Plan across all of Chicago’s communities," the OEMC said in a statement, noting this is part of the city's "all-hands-on-deck safety plan" meant to "keep residents safe citywide."

Video from NBC Sky 5 shows damage and the aftermath of looting that broke out overnight at a Best Buy and surrounding businesses in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The overnight restrictions include shutting down part of Lake Shore Drive, blocking several expressway ramps, lifting bridges and rerouting rail service for parts of the city. Only those who can prove they live or work in the area will be able to access the restricted areas.

The restrictions will be in place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night through the weekend. Restricted access ends at 6 a.m. on Monday.

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