PI Original Ellyn Fortino Monday July 11th, 2016, 10:56pm

Chicagoans Return To The Streets For Protests Against Police Brutality (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides highlights from the fifth consecutive day of protests in Chicago against police violence. 

Chicago Black Lives Matter protesters snarled traffic Monday evening in the downtown area as they demanded justice for victims of police brutality. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Federal Plaza and marched through the Loop for several hours before arriving at Millennium Park, where black female youth organized a large sit-in earlier in the afternoon. 

The racially diverse demonstrations followed last week's fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota as well as the sniper attack in Dallas that killed five police officers. 

Chicagoans have held five consecutive days of protests against police violence, with demonstrators disrupting the Taste of Chicago over the weekend. 

During the Monday evening protest, activists chanted "No justice, no peace!" and carried signs reading, "Stop hate," "Black skin should not be feared," and "I can't keep calm, I have a black son." Protesters blocked several intersections, including at State and Lake, where they held a sit-in and chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot!

Justine Richardson attended the protest with her niece. 

"This is the first time I've participate [in a protest against police brutality], but it's coming to the point now where we have to do something. It's getting out of hand," she said. "I believe that police need policing. They should be more responsible for incidents that happen."

The evening protest was organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago (BLM), Trinity United Church of Christ and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR), which has led a multi-year campaign for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Chicago. The civilian-led council would investigate and prosecute claims of Chicago police crimes.

Melvin Williams was among the protesters wearing t-shirts endorsing CPAC and "community control of the police."

Williams, who is black, said the frequent episodes of police violence against black men make him worried for his children.

"As I got growing up, I thought everything was gonna be changed by then, and my kids wouldn't have to go through this," said 56-year-old Williams. "But for them to grow up and go through the same thing that I had to go through when I was growing up, it's crazy. You know, enough is enough. Slavery is over. Racism should be out the door. There's no room in this country for racism."

Check out scenes from the protest:

Several other protests against police violence were held earlier Monday in Chicago.

In the morning, the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) gathered at Daley Plaza to protest and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) picketed at City Hall.

Activists were at City Hall to support a campaign by #TheBluestLie Collaborative to block a city council proposal seeking to expand Chicago's hate crime law to protect police, firefighters and paramedics. Ald. Ed Burke (14th), a former Chicago police officer, introduced the measure.

"Criminalizing civil disobedience is a long-standing tactic toward eroding non-violent movements for social change," reads a statement from SURJ organizers. "Charges of 'assaulting an officer' and 'trespassing' placed on protesters have become routine. If ordinance #4878 passes a city council vote, anyone having an 'adverse encounter' with police could potentially experience a hate crime charge - a felony carrying six months imprisonment and a $2,500 fine."

Earlier this afternoon, Chicago youth held a sit-in at Millennium Park and later marched downtown.

"There are no words to describe the sadness and hurt I feel for the lives that continue to be lost to gun violence and police brutality every day," protest organizer Sophia Byrd, 17, said in a statement. "My heart breaks for the families of Alton Sterling, (Philando Castile) as well as those of the police officers who lost their lives in Dallas that have now fallen victim to this seemingly never ending cycle of hatred and destruction. As youth in one of the most violent cities in this country, we need to take action."


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