A local hospital has canceled a VIP event at Wrigley Field Thursday night amid security concerns over a planned protest near the ballpark.
Advocate Health Care was set to host an event called #EverybodyTwin at the Friendly Confines on Thursday night, celebrating National Twins and Multiples Day. A group of pediatricians, families, and neonatologists were planning a party near the ballpark, and were going to participate in a ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago Cubs’ game against the San Diego Padres.
The cancellation comes as activists plan to shut down northbound Lake Shore Drive, and then march to Wrigley Field along Belmont and Clark as a form of protest to “redistribute the pain and agony of no economic development on the South and West Sides to the North Side,” according to Violence Interrupters organizer Tio Hardiman.
The Cubs have encouraged fans that are planning to drive to the game to avoid Lake Shore Drive, or to consider other forms of transportation, including the CTA Red Line or the team’s shuttle bus service, located west of the ballpark.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting game against the Padres and will work with CPD to ensure all fans are able to enter and exit the ballpark safely,” the team said in a statement.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has criticized the march organizers for not cooperating with Chicago police in preparing for the protest.
“Father Pfleger worked with the police department,” Emanuel said, referencing the religious leader’s shutdown of the Dan Ryan in early July. “That’s gonna have to happen here so we can ensure the public safety in that effort.”
March organizers said they are not negotiating with Emanuel, nor seeking his endorsement.
“Thursday’s demonstration is not a protest of civil surrender – Thursday’s demonstration will be an act of civil disobedience,” Rev. Gregory Livingston said in a statement.
The march is scheduled to begin near Belmont and Lake Shore Drive on Thursday afternoon, and will proceed toward Wrigley Field, where the Cubs will take the field at 7 p.m.