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No additional street closures downtown expected due to Mexican Independence car caravans

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Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications issued a statement Saturday morning addressing the decision to close downtown streets for Mexican Independence Day celebrations Friday night while saying there are no plans to do so again this weekend.

The OEMC statement said that closures in the city's Central Business District began at approximately 8:10 p.m. from Division Street to 18th Street and from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Halsted Street due to large car caravans celebrating the holiday.

During the closures, all residents and workers were allowed access to downtown through several specific access points. All streets were reopened by 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, officials said.

"As tens of thousands of residents are coming together to celebrate and embrace Mexico’s rich heritage and independence, the City must remain committed to ensuring the safety and security of all those participating in celebratory activities as well as first responders and medical workers in the affected areas," the city's statement read in part.

"For the remainder of the weekend, there are no planned street closures unless deemed necessary for public safety reasons. Residents can expect possible increased traffic activity within the Central Business District. To coordinate resources, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) will continue to work throughout the weekend to manage traffic and public safety and OEMC will continue to monitor events citywide through the Emergency Operations Center. Staged city assets will remain in place if any activities begin to escalate," the statement said.

OEMC on Thursday issued an alert ahead of the celebrations, saying the city will be working throughout the weekend to "manage traffic and public safety," but warned that "car caravans that create a threat to public safety will not be tolerated."

"We also remind everyone that drag racing and drifting are not only illegal, but dangerous," the agency said. "Anyone in violation of the ordinance will be held accountable."

Celebrations commemorating Mexican Independence Day are expected to continue throughout the weekend, with the 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade taking place in Little Village Saturday afternoon.

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