A third day of protests descended upon Chicago’s busy downtown Michigan Avenue shopping district, shutting down some stores as protesters barricaded doors arm-in-arm on Black Friday to prevent shoppers from entering or leaving stores on Chicago’s famed “Magnificent Mile.”
The third day of protests were planned by such groups as the Chicago Teachers Union, Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push, some local communist and socialist party groups, and others in response to the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Several thousand protesters toting signs and yelling slogans began their march before noon on Black Friday and marched northward, the length of Chicago’s lucrative Michigan Avenue shopping district. A large contingent of the Chicago Police mostly kept the protesters marching in the streets and off the sidewalks, but at some point, protesters broke into smaller groups to barricade several store fronts.
Outlets such as Neiman Marcus, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, the Apple Store, and other well-known retailers were blockaded with protesters standing arm-in-arm and refusing to let customers enter the stores or to allow those already inside to exit.
“You shut down money, then people make a difference,” activist Chicago Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleghar said.
Chicago’s NBC affiliate reported that one man confronted the protesters, demanding they let him pass and telling them they are wasting their efforts and unfairly inconveniencing normal people.
The man, who was trying to get into a Crate and Barrel store, said that protesters should be protesting in front of police stations or city hall. “It isn’t the stores’ fault,” he told the TV station.
Soon the store opened a side entrance to allow the shopper to enter the store.
Police themselves formed a blockade at the entrance of one large indoor shopping area but did so only to keep protesters from entering the large indoor space and disrupting shoppers.
Protesters carried signs reading, “Stop police terror,” as well as signs with images of the autopsy of the 17-year-old, showing his sixteen wounds. Protesters also chanted such phrases as “Rahm Emanuel has to go” and [Police Superintendent] “Garry McCarthy must step down,” as they blocked traffic and blockaded stores.
Illinois politicians were also out taking advantage of the protests. “This is what it should be about,” state Rep. Marcus Evans told NBC. “This is Chicago. This is an international city. We can’t afford to let the embarrassments of other places happen here. We have to be the example. Justice in Chicago, I believe that.”
Operation Push chief Jesse Jackson was also ubiquitous during the marches.
Saying he was “challenging the culture” in the Chicago PD, Jackson also noted that they felt it necessary to inconviences millions of Chicagoans and tourists to drive their point home.
“The whole city must say that this behavior is unacceptable and must stop. We’re going to march until there’s a change in the police department, a change in the state attorney’s office, and those who have suppressed the tape are made public,” Jackson said.
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