CHICAGO — Police arrested a dozen participants of an anti-violence protest on Labor Day that tried and ultimately failed to shut down an expressway that leads to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Live TV reports Monday showed Illinois State Police troopers also arresting the main organizer of the protest, the Rev. Gregory Livingston, who had vowed days earlier to temporarily stop the traffic flow on Interstate 90, also known as the Kennedy Expressway.
Dozens of troopers blocked a ramp onto the busy expressway while a trooper with a megaphone warned those attempting to march down that they would be arrested if they didn’t turn around. Some chanted in response, “Ain’t nobody going to turn us around.”
When a trooper asked Livingston if he would go back, Livingston responded politely that he would not and said: “Arrest me.” The trooper tapped him on the shoulder before leading him away.
In all, a dozen people were arrested, handed $120 citations for being a pedestrian on a highway and soon released, an Illinois State Police spokesman, David Byrd, told the Chicago Tribune.
As several dozen protesters gathered earlier, Livingston told reporters that poverty and a lack of investment in minority neighborhoods underpinned much of the deadly violence in the nation’s third-largest city.
“What we’re trying to do is end the tale of two cities in Chicago,” he said. “We think that so much of this violence is generated by Chicago’s legacy of segregation.”
Some protesters carried signs that read, “End State-Sanctioned Violence.” Others called on Chicago’s mayor to resign, chanting, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Rahm Emanuel has got to go!”
Livingston also organized a protest last month that briefly shut down Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s North Side. In July, the Rev. Michael Pfleger led protesters in a march in the traffic lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway.
One Chicago alderman, Nicholas Sposato, criticized the protests, telling the Tribune on Monday that they wasted police resources.
“Try to shut down a highway a third time?” he said. “Is this going to be a monthly thing now? When does it end?”