CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois State Police say they will allow anti-violence protesters to march along a portion of a Chicago interstate.
Police Director Leo Schmitz said in a news release Saturday that an agreement was reached between “all stakeholders” on Thursday.
He says state and Chicago police and Illinois Department of Transportation employees will provide a “safety barrier” between motorists and marchers along a stretch of Interstate 94 known as the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Hundreds and possibly thousands of people are expected to participate in Saturday’s march. They want to draw attention to the city’s gun violence and pressure public officials to do more to stop it.
Police warned earlier this week that any pedestrian who entered the expressway would face arrest and prosecution.
Protesters planning to shut down a major Chicago interstate say they’re trying to pressure public officials to address the gun violence that’s claimed hundreds of lives in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
There’s also a historical significance to marching along the stretch of Interstate 94 known as the Dan Ryan Expressway. Some believe the roadway was built in the early 1960s to separate white communities and poor, black ones. It was the kind of racial and economic segregation that still exists in Chicago.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger is a Roman Catholic priest and anti-violence activist on the city’s South Side who will lead Saturday’s march. He says protesters will carry a banner with a list of demands that includes: more resources, jobs, better schools and stronger gun laws.
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