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In Response to ‘Teen Takeovers', Chicago Pastors to Hold Anti-Violence March Downtown Saturday

A march led by Chicago pastors is expected to take place downtown at 6 p.m. Saturday

In response to widespread teen-led disturbances in the Loop last weekend that led to numerous arrests, property damage and physical assaults, an anti-violence march led by Chicago pastors is expected to take place near Millennium Park.

Additionally, those heading to the iconic tourist destination will likely encounter new safety protocols in response to "disruptive and violent behavior" by large groups of teenagers this past week.

Chicago police arrested a total of 15 people last Saturday as large gatherings of teenagers, dubbed "teen takeovers," led to property damage and physical assaults. In the days following, the Chicago Police Department announced it would put additional security measures in place and increase the number of both patrol officers and command staff at such gatherings.

Police had anticipated similar gatherings on Friday night, leading to a significant increase in police presence surrounding Millennium Park to start off the weekend.

CPD tweeted a photo showing several officers near a barricade at the park and a second photo of command staff, explaining both were present so "all residents and visitors can enjoy our city safely."

Officers could be seen on nearly every corner.

"Think its sad for the city of Chicago, I think the city is a beautiful city with beautiful people, and its sad a city of this size is getting a bad name from a couple of things that happened," said resident Becky Sulfridge.

Last week's chaotic scenes prompted police to take other actions, including establishing fencing and barriers around Millennium Park - in an effort to limit crowds. Mayor Lori Lightfoot also decided to reimplement a curfew for "unaccompanied minors" at the park, which was in place last summer. Under the curfew, anyone under the age of 18 who isn't with a responsible adult is prohibited from entering after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Those 17 years old and under must abide by a separate citywide curfew, which begins at 10 p.m. daily.

Additional precautions will be put into place at 31st Street Beach, where a 14-year-old boy was shot last Friday during a large gathering of mostly young people. Days later, CPD announced that bag checks will be established at beach entry points.

Multiple people visiting Chicago Friday night told NBC 5 videos of the large gatherings were upsetting and disturbing. Groups of mostly teens were seen jumping on cars and CTA buses, shattering windows and even attacking a couple walking across the street.

"I think if stuff like this continues to happen, people are going to stay away," resident Ann Marie Larson said.

Chicago police are also working with community groups, trying to connect with teens to let them know resources are available and that what happened last weekend won't be tolerated.

"Just shocking, kinda confused, it doesn’t seem like there’s a reason why these kids are doing what they’re doing, just kinda doing it to do it, so very scary, I’m afraid of Chicago right now, but I think we’re okay," said resident Shellece Pratt.

If you're planning to go downtown this weekend, you might want to prepare for the possibility of delays on public transportation. If "teen takeovers" were to occur again, they could lead to delays on trains and buses, which were reported during the mayhem last weekend.

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