Sixteen Chicago activists were arrested Tuesday night after they blocked a busy downtown intersection for about an hour to draw attention to the 475 people who, they say, died a violent death in the city this year. Protesters also called for the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in light of the Laquan McDonald case.
Sixteen Chicago activists were arrested Tuesday night after they laid down in the busy intersection of Clark Street and Congress Parkway as part of an "artistic memorial blockade" for victims of violence and police brutality in the city.
The activists, who blocked traffic at the intersection for about an hour, also demanded the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in the wake of the fatal Chicago police shooting of Laquan McDonald.
Sixteen people laid on the street to symbolize the number of times police officer Jason Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald in the middle of Pulaski Road on the city's South Side last year.
Protesters connected their arms through tubes, which were wrapped with white lights and a total of 475 paper flowers to represent each person who died a violent death in Chicago this year. Police took the 16 protesters into custody after removing the tubes from their arms.
Check out scenes from the protest:
The event was organized by groups including Lifted Voices and the Chicago Light Brigade, which annually holds a memorial for victims of violence in the city.
"Our goal for this is to make it clear to the people of Chicago that there are people in the community who care enough to stand up against the terrible losses that we've had from the neglect of the mayor and from Anita Alvarez, the state's attorney," said Atena Danner with Lifted Voices. "They've been negligent in their duties to the people, and there's been great deal of violence as a result, and we stand against that. We stand against that loudly and forcefully, and people are willing to put their bodies on the line in order to get that message across."
Among those arrested was Lifted Voices organizer Kelly Hayes.
"Black and Indigenous people are the most likely groups to fall to police violence nationwide, and we are taking a stand, here and now, in a city that has been devastated by state violence," she said in a statement. "No one is free so long as they live in fear of armed agents of the state who are allowed to harm them with impunity. Chicago deserves better, and it's time to demand better. This is how we pay our debt to the dead and fight for a better future."