Gun Violence Protesters Partially Shut Chicago Expressway

Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Rev. Michael Pfleger | Sun Times file

Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Rev. Michael Pfleger | Sun Times file

The demonstrators shut down a major freeway in the city and disrupted traffic.

"Adults better wake up, political leaders better wake up, young people are rising up, they are strong, they are loud, they are impatient, they are not politically correct, they want answers, they want it now, and understand if they don't get it they'll ...kick you out, and vote you out the way", Pfleger said. "We're going to disrupt the flow of traffic July 7th to make sure they know we're serious".

Police then announced they would shut down all northbound lanes on the expressway to facilitate the protests.

A woman reacts to a speaker during the highway shutdown.

Going against the views of his police department and the IL state police, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday he supports allowing the demonstrators to march on the freeway, the Chicago Sun Times reported. Pfleger would later tell the newspaper that they had given police three weeks' advance notice and that they had permission to occupy all of the lanes.

Initially, a line of police officers and their parked vehicles essentially split the northbound highway in half, intending to allow marchers to walk in the right two lanes while keeping two left lanes open to traffic. When they saw this many people out here, black and white and brown, young and old, saying we're exhausted of the damn violence in Chicago. "And that benefits this entire city", said Johnson.

"This is why we are peacefully marching today", Jackson tweeted.

"We came out here to do one thing: to shut it down", said Pfleger, dressed in a clerical collar and a shirt that depicted raised fists and the words "Enough is Enough: Peace Now!" according to the Tribune. "We didn't come out here to get punked by the governor".

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Representatives for ChicagoStrong did not immediately respond to a request for comment or queries about how large the crowd was.

Emanuel on Friday said he supported the protest, but police urged Pfleger to take the march somewhere safer than the middle of the expressway.

But demonstrators, including Pfleger and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, demanded all five lanes.

According to the same database, 501 of the 578 people killed in the city over the past 365 days were shot to death.

Chicago police said the city saw 252 homicides and 1,100 shootings in the first six months of this year, a decrease from the same period last year.

The NRA's tweet was met with befuddled responses pointing out Chicago's "Dan Ryan Shut Down" had been a "fully peaceful protest".

The march was hailed by Parkland school shooting survivors and anti-gun activists Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.

"The mayor's hope is that today's march may make someone realize they shouldn't pick up a gun to settle a dispute, and if that happens the peaceful march the governor called "chaos" will unquestionably be worth it", McGrath said. The Republican also said he was "disappointed" in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "There was an agreement in place".

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