Gov. Rauner calls interstate shutdown ‘unacceptable,’ Emanuel defends protests
CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling the shutdown of a Chicago interstate by anti-violence protesters “unacceptable.”
The Republican said in a tweet Saturday that he was “disappointed” in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He called on Emanuel to “take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos.”
Emanuel responded in a tweet : “It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account.”
Thousands of protesters marched on Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway on Saturday to draw attention to the city’s gun violence and pressure public officials to do more to stop it. The Dan Ryan Expressway is part of Interstate 94.
The governor’s office and Illinois State Police said early Saturday that they would block off two northbound lanes. Protest organizers objected, and said the crowd would shut down traffic. State police then close all of the northbound lanes.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, who organized the march, says “the people won today.”
Pfleger says people of many races and ages came together to say, “We’re tired of the damn violence in Chicago.”
Saturday’s march ended around 1 p.m., roughly three hours after protesters first entered the Dan Ryan Expressway and less than 90 minutes after Illinois State Police shut down all northbound traffic.
Pfleger says the next step is for the governor, mayor and other officials to meet with the community and come up with a plan to help neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides.