Protesters disrupt holiday shopping again on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue

Posted at 8:38 PM, Dec 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 20:38:37-05

Demonstrators shut down this city’s so-called Magnificent Mile and entrances to several stores Thursday, disrupting last-minute holiday shopping and demanding the resignations of the mayor and prosecutor.

The Christmas Eve day protest was the second major demonstration since Thanksgiving weekend on Michigan Avenue, where about 200 activists on Thursday condemned how local officials took more than a year to release a police video showing an officer firing 16 shots in 15 seconds toward black teenager Laquan McDonald, who was killed.

“Sixteen shots and a coverup!” the protesters chanted outside the Apple store and Water Tower Place mall, blocking shoppers from entering but allowing patrons to exit. At one point, there was a short scuffle on a crowded sidewalk between protesters and police officers.

Protesters said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez must resign. They have declined to heed such demands.

Emanuel, however, this month fired Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who days earlier rejected protesters’ demand for his resignation and declared that “what I will tell you is that the mayor has made it very clear that he has my back.”

On Thursday, protesters said they wanted more resignations.

“One down, two to go!” they chanted.

Thursday’s demonstration was significantly smaller than the hundreds of protesters who shut down Michigan Avenue the day after Thanksgiving.

What has enraged many leaders, pastors and members of Chicago’s black community was a police dashcam video showing McDonald, 17, being shot on a city street last year by Officer Jason Van Dyke, who last month was charged with first-degree murder. Even President Barack Obama said he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage.

For more than three hours Thursday, demonstrators drew a diverse crowd, including one placard in Spanish that said, “Fuera Rahm!” or “Rahm Out!” But at one point, the protesters broke into two groups, traveling in different directions on Chicago’s famous corridor.

Some shoppers even joined the marching protesters for a block or two, eventually returning to shopping.

Along the way, protesters chanted “No justice, no profit, prosecute Emanuel!” and “No justice, no peace! No racist police!”

Some of Thursday’s protesters included activists from the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter. In one small group in the march, a masked man called for a “revolution” against black genocide.

On Wednesday, protesters with Black Lives Matter blocked roads to the major airport in both Minneapolis and San Francisco, and they were dispersed by police after assembling inside the Minneapolis area’s Mall of America.

Five people were arrested at the Mall of America, and eight more people were arrested at the airport, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.

In California, nine women were arrested for briefly shutting down an exit ramp on U.S. Highway 101 to San Francisco International Airport, according to the California Highway Patrol.