Downtown Street, Ramp Closures Begin Ahead of More Mexican Independence Day Celebrations

Following multiple disturbances and issues Friday night, Chicago police have announced a shift in safety strategy for more anticipated celebrations

After thousands of revelers descended on downtown Chicago in celebration of Mexican Independence Day Friday night, leading to a massive traffic gridlock, city officials are preparing for another night of festivities and large crowds.

In an effort to prevent jam-packed expressways and streets, multiple closures began in the early evening, with more possible through the nighttime hours.

As of 5 p.m., Illinois State Police and the Chicago Police Department began shutting down ramps at various locations throughout the city, according to ISP. Chicago's Office of Emergency Management tweeted intermittent street closures will occur as needed on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and expressway ramps.

At a news conference, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police superintendent David Brown announced a shift in safety strategy ahead of Saturday night, the third straight night of Mexican Independence Day celebrations.

Brown explained officers will be focused on curbing certain crimes, as he and Lightfoot urged peace and calm across the city.

In one specific instance from Friday, video shows gridlocked traffic on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, then a blue car begins to drift, performing illegal street stunts, as people outside of their vehicles look on. Brown warned against partaking in such activities, saying police may tow vehicles of those engaged in drifting and illegal stunts.

At least seven arrests connected to the celebrations have been made, authorities said.

While not all celebrations went awry, Chicago police were forced to call in reinforcements from ISP overnight, as officers were overwhelmed by the large number of vehicles and visitors.

"We want you to celebrate, we want you to enjoy yourselves but we also cannot, cannot tolerate this kind of behavior that jeopardizes our public safety," Brown said.

Leslie Garay, who turned out to mark Mexican Independence Day downtown, said she was saddened to see celebrations get out of hand.

"It does make me feel bad for the reason that it’s something to be celebrated all together, and you know, I haven’t seen the bad things yet but knowing that they were happening, it’s sad," she said.

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