By: Nana Aduba-Amoah
Thousands of Chicagoans flooded the downtown streets Saturday afternoon to join the national protests against the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by white police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis last week Sunday. Yesterday highlighted the second day of the city’s protest, where local organizations such as Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and Pueblo Sin Fronteras/Familia Latina Unida, pioneered the crowd from the Federal Plaza through the downtown streets.
Protesters like Katelyn, said her privilege as a white woman in society compelled her to show support for George Floyd. “That wouldn’t have happened to me,” she said in reference to the fatal encounter between Floyd and Chauvin.
By 3 p.m., supporters began to show up downtown in numbers, on foot, in cars, and on bikes, with decorated signboards reading “Black Lives Matter,” and “Prosecute the Police,” chanting phrases like “Justice for George,” and expressing their disdain for racism and police brutality.
However, what started as a peaceful protest, became tense as the evening approached and crowds made their way towards the Trump Tower, with much police resistance, according to an article by the Chicago Sun-Times. Protesters eventually began to clash with police, causing an uproar of riots and looting.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for limited access towards the Loop area and issued a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Throughout the evening, as crowds grew more tense, Chicago Police SUVs were attacked and set on fire, officers began to pepper spray protesters, and over 200 people were arrested. At least four shootings occurred, leaving one person fatally shot, according to the Sun-Times.
Overall, the protest garnered support from allies of different races, cultures, and ethnic back grounds, uniformly seeking to eradicate the systemic oppression of racism.
“Being Asian-American, I don’t even know half of the fight that black people have encountered,” said Inzy, who marched with the crowd earlier that afternoon. “Even just seeing the minimal amount of racism I’ve encountered in my whole life, and then just seeing the amount of people that are protesting, this could be the time that there could actually be change.”
Click on the slide show above to view more pictures of yesterday’s protest.