Father Pfleger, protesters threatened with arrests ahead of Dan Ryan march

CHICAGO — The Rev. Michael Pfleger is pushing back against Chicago and Illinois State Police who threaten arrests if protesters interfere with traffic on the Dan Ryan Expressway this weekend.

Pfleger and other clergy members, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, announced Tuesday a bold step in the ongoing campaign of civil unrest against street violence and economic imbalance in Chicago.

They plan to march on the Dan Ryan at 79th Street around 10 a.m. Saturday.

Pfleger said St. Sabina parishioners and others have been marching in the neighborhoods for months, with little impact. Borrowing from the civil rights movement of the '60s, Pfleger said it's time to kick things up a notch and make society take notice.

State police issued a news release that said pedestrians are forbidden on expressways; violators will face arrest and prosecution.

While officials respect citizens' rights to protest, the release said,, public safety must take priority when it comes to high-speed traffic and pedestrians.

Protest organizers point to the many instances when U.S. presidents have come to town and shut down expressways, as well as other events that close streets like Lollapalooza and Taste of Chicago.