Protesters Promise To Shut Down Busy Chicago Street For Today’s Christmas Shoppers

Philip DeVoe Contributor
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In protest of the shooting of Laquan McDonald, demonstrators in the Chicago area have begun marching on the city’s Magnificent Mile, a stretch of major department stores often patronized around the Christmas season, aiming to block shoppers from entering the stores on Thursday and, ultimately, shut the stores down entirely.

“We know there will be a lot of last-minute Christmas Eve shoppers,” Gregory Livingston, a member of the Coalition for a New Chicago, one of the groups organizing the demonstration, told the Chicago Tribune. “We hate to be disruptive, but we hope to once again affect economics on Mag Mile to appeal to the merchants, and appeal to [Mayor Rahm] Emanuel on his cover-up and subsequent actions that he needs to step down.”

The protests are trying to mimic last month’s Black Friday protest of the same area and yesterday’s storming of the Mall of America in Minnesota, both of which, like Thursday’s, aimed to raise awareness about police shootings through disrupting Christmas commuters and shoppers.  (RELATED: Chicago Black Friday Protesters Briefly Shut Down Stores)

Protesters directly targeted Emanuel on Tuesday outside his office with signs saying “Rahm you have failed us” and chants of “Am I next? Will you shoot me 16 times?” McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke last year.

According to Fox News, protesters have already begun marching toward Michigan Avenue, the street containing Magnificent Mile, even stopping to lie down in the street, further impeding traffic, and Chicago police are lined up along the street in preparation.

Protesters are targeting the stores because, as Livingston said, blows to profit make people pay attention.

“That’s what people feel. They wake up and say, ‘OK, they’re hitting us in our pockets.’ And because we believe the Emanuel administration really values profit over people,” Livingston told ABC 7 Chicago.

ABC-7 reported that although protest organizers hoped “Black Christmas,” the self-named title of the protests, would mimic Black Friday’s, a much smaller crowd actually showed up.