Chicago activists are demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel resign as they prepare for a major anti-violence protest against the city's spiraling crime crisis.
Organizers of the march reportedly are gearing up for a potentially chaotic demonstration on Thursday, timed with the start of Lollapalooza and before a Cubs game. Organizers did not rule out trying to enter Wrigley Field and predicted at least some protesters would be arrested.
Meanwhile, they are making clear they don't want the Democratic mayor's support or blessing -- as they are calling on him to resign over of his inability to get the city’s gun crime under control.
“The call of the people is ‘Resign Rahm,’” Dr. Gregory Livingston said, according to The Chicago Tribune. “So how, then, can you back your own regime change? How do you sanction your own termination? How dumb, naive and self-hating do you think we are?”
“Honestly, when the mayor endorses a protest, it’s no longer a protest,” Rev. Ira Acree said. “It becomes a parade, and we’re on serious business.”
NBC Chicago reported that the protesters said they are looking to “redistribute the pain and agony of no economic development on the South and West Sides to the North side.”
The protest will head from Lake Shore Drive toward Wrigley Field.
“We have people who are committed, who are ready to get arrested,” Acree said, according to the Tribune. “And those who don’t, they’ll stay back. But certainly, people are going to get arrested.”
The march comes after thousands of protesters shut down traffic on Interstate 94 earlier this month to draw attention to gun violence. Chicago police said the city had 252 homicides and 1,100 shootings in the first six months of 2018, a decrease from last year -- but the crimes have been concentrated in predominantly black, low-income neighborhoods.
While Emanuel is in the crosshairs of this week’s protest, he had offered support to the protest earlier this month -- even scolding Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner after he called on Emanuel to “put an end to this kind of chaos.”
“It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account,” Emanuel responded.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.