A discussion about the Black Lives Matter protests on Black Friday erupted in heated objections over media coverage of the events. In Chicago, protesters were out in force on the MIracle Mile to appeal for shoppers’ attention to their cause. When Fox News’ Trish Regan asked out loud if the protests actually served their cause, both Christi Kunzig and Gianno Caldwell agreed that it did hot advance Black Lives Matter. Caldwell said that these protests lack “real policy presciptions.” This is the second year in a row that protesters have interrupted commerce on Chicago’s Miracle Mile.
Former AFL-CIO organizing director Stewart Acuff argued that the protests focus attention on race issues and police relations with local communities. When Regan interrupted, he shouted, “Let me finish! This is ridiculous! You cut me off when I just started!” He asked, “How many black kids need to be murdered before we see it as a problem?!” Regan and Acuff then proceeded to have a back and forth exchange.
Kunzig opined that bringing a focus on shootings should not be done “by adding more racial tension.” Acuff rejoined, “Black kids are being murdered across America and in Chicago and what is more important to protest than that?!”
In Chicago today, protesters began gathering at approximately 10 a.m. near Chicago's old Water Tower monument on North Michigan Avenue, while activists talked about police shootings of black civilians. The crowd cried, "No justice. No peace," and "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Rahm Emanuel has got to go." Some protesters expressed dissatisfaction over Donald Trump’s electoral victory.
About 11 a.m., approximately 150 to 200 people marched along the Michigan Avenue sidewalk, while some stopped at the Ralph Lauren store to shout "Shut it down!" The protesters broke up into smaller groups while passing a number of luxury brand stores. Some protesters linked arms outside a Victoria’s Secret store while shoppers entered and exited unhindered.
The protest was planned by a network of groups that includes the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and Black Lives Matter to focus attention on economic equalities, police mistreatment of black people, gun violence and poverty. They are also upset over Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new police oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
This year’s protest was much smaller than the Black Friday protest of 2015 when approximately 1,000 activists temporarily blocked traffic and access to about a dozen Michigan Avenue retailers to protest the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white Chicago police officer. Four people were arrested during that demonstration, also held the day after Thanksgiving.
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