(CBS) – Demonstrators threatened to “shut down” the Taste of Chicago on Saturday in hopes of drawing attention to fatal officer-involved shootings of black suspects, but the festival seemed to be relatively unscathed by the civil disobedience.
At 5 p.m., Chicago police were allowing protesters into the Grant Park food festival. They were not allowed to bring signs inside. Things appeared peaceful, though protesters symbolically raised their hands high as they walked past officers at a security checkpoint, CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports.
On Facebook, more than 600 people committed to joining the demonstration. Their intended message was: No justice, no revenue.
Protesters marched en masse through the Taste of Chicago but left about an hour later without incident. They continued through the downtown, occasionally disrupting traffic but monitored by police officers.
One activist, Jedidiah Brown, said demonstrators hoped to send a message to Chicago leaders.
“This condition has not gotten any better. You can’t get quiet on it. You still got a whole lot of work to do. We’re going to keep the pressure on you until you do it. And if you don’t, the voices of the violent may end up overshadowing the voices of us, who are peaceful,” he says.
The staff at Gold Coast Dogs was prepared for the possible disruption.
Mahima Bahimi says employees were told to stay calm and stay inside the booth. Everyone was given an emergency number.
“We are hopeful that we have a good Saturday and Sunday,” she tells CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos.
Some visitors at the Taste were hoping for the best, too.
“I don’t know why they would try to protest and stop the Taste of Chicago when that’s such a great symbol of Chicago,” Stephen Wnguyn said.
There were actually several separate demonstrations in Chicago’s downtown region Saturday.
They came after highly publicized, fatal police-involved shootings of black individuals in Minnesota and Louisiana. A black military veteran, apparently angered by the events, killed five Dallas police officers in an ambush Thursday night. Dallas police killed the suspect using a robot-propelled bomb.