100 Arrested at Union Protest of Mayor Emanuel
Chicago is set to close 54 public schools to help close a $1 billion budget gap. Yesterday teacher's unions gathered downtown to protest the closings, including acts of civil disobedience which led to over 100 arrests.
Video of the protests suggests that most of the crowd's ire was directed at Mayor Rahm Emanuel. When Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis mentioned the Mayor during her speech to the crowd, they booed loudly (scroll in 30 seconds):
Lewis went on to accuse Emmanuel of closing schools named after "African-American icons" like Crispus Attucks and Mahalia Jackson while opening up schools with "a living billionaire's name in the front."
At another point in her address Lewis, speaking of Emanuel, told the crowd, "when you have an unjust leader you must rise up." She also criticized the Mayor's record on crime. Last year Chicago had over 500 murders, the highest total in the nation (though not the highest murder rate per capita).
Another clip from the protest shows people locking arms in the street chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Rahm Emanuel has got to go."
The 54 Chicago schools are being closed because of a $1 billion dollar budget gap. Closing the schools and consolidating students into fewer buildings will save the city an estimated $560 million over 10 years.