Chicago Police

Overnight Restricted Access to Downtown Chicago Lifted Early

Chicagoans have full access to the city until further notice.

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Restricted access to Chicago's downtown area was lifted earlier than expected Sunday night, Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications announced.

Chicago OEMC said all streets, bridges and public transportation stops in the downtown area will be accessible until further notice, despite plans to keep access restricted until Monday morning.

Access to downtown Chicago was limited this weekend, including multiple street closures and an increased police presence, the OEMC announced.

"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."

The overnight restrictions included 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 were intended to be in place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until Monday morning.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced the move Monday as part of a multi-layer plan that was also used when looting and unrest unfolded in the city earlier this summer following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

A heavy police presence continued downtown Saturday with protests continuing into the evening.

Video captures the moment police pepper spray a group of protesters, one of many tense moments during demonstrations in downtown Chicago Saturday. Aerial footage shows officers swarming a group of demonstrators while additional footage shows police warning protesters to exit the city or risk arrest.

The demonstrations began at Chicago's iconic Bean before the group traveled to Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, where multiple incidents were reported.

According to footage from the scene, several protesters could be seen scuffling with police blocking streets and pepper spray was used. Multiple arrests were witnessed at the scene, but according to Chicago police, the exact number remains unclear.

Supt. David Brown said Monday that officers will be working 12-hour shifts with no days off "until further notice."

"We are also working with other city agencies, including Streets and Sanitation, the CTA, the Department of Transportation and the state police and other agents in a multi-layered plan which will be based on lessons we've learned from earlier this summer," Brown said earlier this week.

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